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1/2lb Green beans


1/2lb Green Beans

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Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. They are also a very good source of vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, folate and iron. In addition, green beans are a good source of magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, copper, calcium, phosphorous, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.

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Origins and Culture

Green beans are the immature fruits of any kind of bean eaten as a vegetable. The earliest archaeological evidence of domesticated bean seeds is from 5500 BC at a site in mountainous northern Peru. At this time there was no domesticated maize and no pottery making. The earliest evidence of bean seeds from archaeological sites in Mexico is from 5000 BC. So by this time beans had been independently domesticated in the two regions. Despite these early beginnings, domesticated beans took a long time to spread more widely through North and South America and to be grown as a staple crop. However, by the 1400's beans had caught up with maize and squash as a staple crop.

Altogether, squash, maize and common beans were known as The Three Sisters among many Native Americans, because they were the three main agricultural crops of several Native American groups. In a technique known as companion planting, the three crops are planted close together. Flat-topped mounds of soil were built for each "cluster", about 30 cm high and 50 cm wide. Several maize seeds were planted close together, in the very center of each mound. When the maize is 15 cm tall, beans and squash were planted around the maize, alternating between beans and squash.

The three crops benefited from each other. The maize provided a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles. The beans provided the nitrogen to the soil that the other plants removed. The squash spread along the ground, monopolizing the sunlight to prevent weeds. The squash also acted as a "living mulch," creating a microclimate to retain moisture in the soil.

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Nutritional and Medicinal Properties

1 cup of fresh green beans packs in an enormous amount of Vitamin K [122% of daily recommended intake]. Vitamin K1 activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bones. Osteocalcin anchors calcium molecules inside the bone and makes sure your bones are strongly maintained. You can also be sure to get enough Vitamins C, B2, B1, and B3, along with plenty of fibre, potassium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids.

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Basic Cooking Instructions

The quickest and one of the healthiest ways to prepare green beans is to wash and drain them and eat them fresh. But you can also sautee them briefly [about 3 minute] in 6 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 cloves of minced garlic. Just before removing them from the heat add a small bunch of parsley, chopped, and season with salt and pepper. Green beans can be added to stew, soup, a casserole, or as a side dish.

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