Got a garden full of green beans but not sure what to do with them?
Availability: Yellow beans, butter beans, purple and yellow snap beans among others are available from December through to April.
Buying: Green beans should be firm, stiff, slim and unbendable. Beans shouldn't have thick, leathery skin, nor be wrinkly.
Storing: Beans are best eaten when freshly picked, but they can be refrigerated for up to a week. They will keep frozen for months.
Nutrition: Green beans are an excellent source of the carotenoid family of antioxidants, especially beta-carotene. Cooking and chopping beans makes these antioxidants more easily absorbed. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage by free radicals, which are formed as by-products of normal cellular reactions and can be harmful if not deactivated.
Ideas for using green beans
- Green beans are great in salads. Cook beans in boiling water for about 3 minutes, strain, and serve with chopped tomatoes, corn kernels, chopped avocado and chopped coriander. Dress with a lemony vinaigrette.
- Try a warm salad. Cook and strain beans. Mix gently with toasted pine nuts and cracked pepper. Dress with a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Make pita pizzas with a gourmet twist. Brush pesto over large pita breads (or plain pizza bases) and add cooked and chopped green beans. Sprinkle chopped bocconcini, crumbed feta, and finely chopped Kalamata olives over pizza. Lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place in a warm oven (about 150°C ) until golden brown, or cheese is melted.
- Add green beans to a stir-fry. Boil beans for 2 minutes, then add to other chopped vegetables in a heated wok with a dash of sesame oil. Add some finely chopped garlic, ginger, chilli and your meat of choice. Cook for 2 minutes. Add a sauce and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Serve with noodles or plain rice.
- Make green bean fritters. Cook and chop beans.
Mix carrots, corn, green beans, spring onion and parsley with egg, flour and milk. Fry palm-sized fritters in a non-stick pan. Serve with salad and couscous.