To find out all there is to know about vegetables, health and nutrition.
Scientific NamePhaseolus vulgaris Linneaus (Fabaceae family)
Common nameGreen beans
Varieties and seasons
The harvest lasts from June to October in the South, and August to September in the North. That’s why green beans are available throughout the year, in jars, tins or frozen.
These leguminous vegetables are consumed before maturity: the finer they are, the less obvious the seeds.
Several varieties are grown: French filet beans (very long pods), “mange tout” beans, including a yellow variety called “butter beans”, and different hybrids.
Depending on the maturity of the green bean, they are known as extra fine, very fine and fine. Their nutritional content changes slightly during this maturing period. It is primarily their fibre content that increases with age.
The weather conditions during the development and maturing of the string beans has a major impact on their nutritional content: during heatwaves, the plants develop fibre and enhance their nutritional and taste benefits. Under normal weather conditions, the water content of the plants is higher and the beans are are more tender and less fibrous.
The main producers in the world are China, Indonesia, Turkey, India. The main European exporters are France (28.9%), the Netherlands (23.1%), Belgium-Luxembourg (19.1%), Italy (11.6%) and Germany (10.2%). France is producing 50 % of the European production: 85 000t for the fresh consumption & 310 000 tonnes for industry.
The green bean is the most frequently consumed tinned and frozen vegetable in France with almost 4 kg per person and per year, without counting green beans grown in individual gardens (where it is one of the top vegetables)!
Nutritional values (per 100 g)
* Ciqual 1995 ** Bonduelle data *** Recommended Daily Intake ****USDA nd : undetermined
Green beans are low in calories, and a source of fibre needed to ensure regular bowel movements.
They are an important source of vitamins C and B9. The first is vital for the formation and maintenance of connective tissue; it is also a highly effective antioxidant in protecting the cornea, skin, and tissue. The second – vitamin B9 or Folate – is required by cells to grow and multiply: it is recommended for women hoping to get pregnant, children and anyone whose body requires cellular renewal (during growth or convalescence, etc.).
Green beans contain fibres, the thickness of which depends directly on their maturity (extra fine = extra soft fibres; very fine = very soft fibres).
What is about portions...?
-a child portion : two little handfuls
-an adult portion : two big handfuls
Cooking and nutrition: tasty combinations
-Green beans, parsley and grilled meat: the vitamin contained in the parsley and green beans makes it easier to absorb the iron in the meat, while providing a nutritionally balanced meal (carbohydrates/fat/protein).
-Green beans, chicken liver or confit of gizzards and diced tomato salad. This is an excellent cocktail to protect the skin and tissues, thanks to vitamins in the green beans, the proteins in the liver and gizzards, the iron and group B vitamins in the liver, and the provitamin A and antioxidant of the tomatoes.
Green beans get stringy if the plant has been stressed because of a heat wave, lack of water etc. Current growing techniques have now eliminated stringiness to a very large extent.
Green beans contain soft fibre that everyone can digest easily. A serving of green beans (about 200 g) provides around 18 to 25% of your daily fibre needs, 15% of your provitamin A requirement, 12 to 25% of your vitamin C needs and 35 to 50% of your vitamin B9 requirement.