Popular Varieties: Kidney Beans, Runner Beans
Store At: 5-10°C
Comes From: Temperate Regions
You might not think French beans are seasonal, since once again they are available all year round - but these are often from Kenya, ready topped and tailed and packed in a controlled atmosphere packet - ready to pop in the pan. Nice and convenient, but how much goodness and freshness do you think is left in something that was picked a week ago and flown over 4,000 miles to the supermarket shelf?
British grown French beans are in season starting from late July/early August. An incredibly easy plant to grow, it will crop for months on end and is highly recommended to grow your own. Our climate has only recently become warm enough in the summer for French beans to easily grow; our history has more significance for runner beans and broad beans.
They are easy to cook and as many beans, should be lightly boiled or steamed. They can also then be gently sautéed in garlic and butter, or even gently sautéed to mix with pasta.
There are different varieties of french bean - some grow as bushes, some grow as climbers, which were both introduced to Europe during the Spanish conquests in the early sixteenth century, after they were brought over from their early origins in Mexico and parts of South America, where they are thought to have been growing since around 8,000BC.
You may know these beans now as Haricot Vert or flageolet beans, but it appears that early on they were commonly confused with the larger runner beans. They are a good source of starch and protein, and make a tasty addition to the dinner plate. They are sometimes known as flageolet beans, and are commonly available tinned.
They are best not overcooked - a quick 5 minutes or so in a pan of boiling water should be long enough, to leave them slightly crunchy.
They dislike cold wet soils, and will grow much better on sheltered, well drained rich soil. They are also easy to grow in large tubs; a tub 2 feet (60cm) in diameter will be large enough for 4-6 plants, which can provide enough beans for a family of four eating them once a week when in full harvest. As long as you pick the beans young, they will keep cropping from late July well into October and even November in warmer areas.
Serving Size:100g cooked
|Calories: 129, Calories from Fat: 6|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 1g||1%|
| Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 24g||8%|
| Dietary Fibre 9g||38%|
Vit A: 0% , Vit C: 2% , Vit D: 0% , Vit K: 0%
Iron: 6% , Calcium: 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.