In the Past: Beans originated in Central and South America 7,000 years ago, and spread throughout North America via their Indian cultivators. While first grown only for the seeds inside the bean pod, both seeds and pods came to be eaten green as a vegetable in Italy during the 17th Century
In the Soil: Green beans grow on a vine or bush, and are sometimes called French beans, haricots verts, string beans or snap beans. There are 130 varieties worldwide, and despite their name, green beans can be found in colors ranging from purple to red.
In the Kitchen: Like most vegetables, green beans are most delicious when just picked. You can tell if they are fresh by bending a bean in half and hearing a clean ‘snap’ as it breaks. Green beans are great as a raw snack (wash well!), steamed or sautéed, or added to casseroles.
In the Body: Beans are legumes, which are full of protein, fiber, and high in folic acid, potassium, iron and magnesium. Eat them with grains like rice to give your body a more complete protein mix, and with vitamin C to increase the absorption of iron.
In Connecticut: Fresh green beans are generally available from July through mid-October.