• The bean is an immature pod
  • Pale yellow lavender or white flowers
  • A firm, long, straight pod
  • Contains soft seeds
  • Grow on a bush 30-100cm in height or as a trellised climber up to 2m in height
  • Green/yellow/purple depending upon variety.

Use beans whole as crudites for dip. Slice to use in salads and stir-fries. Steam and serve with sauces or nuts. Beans add rich colour and shape variety to any meal.

The fresh bean is grown in areas that are not vulnerable to very high temperatures or severe frosts. However with careful seasonal planting, beans can be grown in a wide range of climates and soils. Beans are grown as a bush 30cm – 90cm in height depending on the variety or as a climber. The latter can reach up to 2.1m. Beans have a short growing season, 8-10 weeks from planting to the first crop.

The green bean originated in Central America and is thought to have been introduced to Europe by Columbus. The Mexican diet, in Aztec as in later times, consisted mainly of tomato, maize, peppers and beans. Beans when young and small were probably eaten fresh, otherwise they were boiled and used as a protein source in the diet.

Interesting Facts and Myths?

In the 6th century B.C. the Greek philosopher Pythagoras condemned the fava bean (broad bean) and would not let his followers eat them, as he believed that they contained the souls of the dead.

From the royal tombs of ancient Egypt to the Old Testament the cultivation, preparation, and consumption of beans are recorded. In some Eastern cultures, legumes were a basic dietary staple that can be traced back more than 20,000 years.

The Scarlet Runner bean, which originated in Central America, was grown as an ornamental vine in sixteenth-century Europe. (Their lush green foliage and scarlet coloured flowers are still grown for this purpose.)

The broad bean, also known as the fava bean, the faba bean, he horse bean, was the only bean known in Europe until the discovery of the New World.

The lima bean gets its name from the city of Lima, Peru. The lima and pinto bean were cultivated for the first time in the very earliest Mexican and Peruvian civilizations more than 5,000 years ago, being popular in both the Aztec and Inca cultures.

Botanical Name: Phaseolus vulgaris (Leguminosae)

Alternative Names: Flat bean, long bean, yard long bean

Health Benefits

A good source of vitamin A and C and dietary fibre. A fair source of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and thiamine. Beans also contain traces of iron.

100g of bean yields the following:

  • Calories – 31
  • Total Carbs – 2% of DV
  • Protein – 4% of DV
  • Dietary Fibre – 11% of DV
  • Vitamin A – 14% of DV
  • Vitamin C – 20% of DV
  • Calcium – 4% of DV
  • Iron – 6% of DV

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Selecting tips

  • Choose young, firm, straight pods with good colour (green, yellow or purple). Good beans snap crisply.

Storage tips

  • Beans can be eaten raw or cooked and like all vegetables should be washed prior to eating.
  • Store in a plastic bag in refrigerator, consume within one-four days from purchase.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for latest news, tips and special offers

  • Hidden