Hello all and Happy Friday! The Summer Olympics are upon us, and we definitely have some produce worth competing for next week! We are especially excited for the green beans and Fava Beans coming to us from right here in Washington.
Did you know? The family favorite green bean in the States did not become popular until the 1800s because they were so expensive! Green beans actually originated in North and South America, India and China.
And these beans are very healthy! Green beans are an excellent source of protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber. Their high fiber content aids digestion and the protein helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Therefore, Diabetics and people who suffer from hypoglycemia can benefit from eating green beans. There is evidence that a diet rich in beans can lower cholesterol levels, especially the triglycerides.
Green beans, like other beans, are a good source of folic acid and molybdenum. They also contain considerable amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus manganese, and potassium.
The folic acid and B6 in green beans make them a “heart healthy” vegetable as well because it lowers an amino acid called homocysteine, which is known to be high in people with heart disease.
Of course because they are low in calories and filling, green beans are the dieter’s friend as well (from GardeningChannel.com).
We’re also very excited for the Fava Beans next week! “What’s a Fava Bean,” you ask. According to NPR, “Think Jack and the Beanstalk. The magic beans that grew overnight into a beanstalk that reached into the clouds were very probably fava beans.”
These ancient beans are one of the oldest cultivated plants and among the easiest to grow. They were the only beans Europeans ate before they discovered America and all its legumes. As a matter of fact, Italians credit the fava bean as a factor in saving Sicilians from starvation during a time of famine. Since then, the fava has been considered good luck. Now that luck – and magic – is being enjoyed at more American tables.
How to Prepare: First, you pop them out of the pods, and then to remove the thick outer skin, I find it easiest to just blanch them in boiling water for a minute or two. This loosens the outer skin and when they cool enough so you can handle them, just squeeze and the bright green tender bean will appear.
I enjoy eating them very lightly sauteed with a little butter and salt, or olive oil and salt. Just let their natural flavor shine.
Another classic way to prepare Fava’s is to smash them with a few cooked fresh peas, and little mint, olive oil and salt. The peas are optional. This is fantastic spread on a piece of grilled bread as an appetizer and goes great with a glass of crisp dry white wine.
What item are you most looking forward to cooking with next week? Share your favorite recipes on our Facebook wall!