Saturday, July 31, 2010

Green Beans vs. Yellow Beans

When I’m shopping at the Farmers’ Market, I tend to pass over the yellow beans and get the green ones instead. My mom taught me that the more intensely coloured the vegetable, the higher the nutritional value, especially with respect to vitamins. But is this really true when we’re talking about the same kind of veggie?

Nutritional Value: From what I can gather from their nutritional profiles, green and yellow beans are pretty similar. They’re both a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, fibre, folic acid, iron, and manganese. When it comes to vitamin A, however, green beans are the clear winner: one cup of green beans provides about 15% of your daily intake, while yellow beans provide only 2%. This makes sense, since vitamin A is present in fruits and veggies in the form of dark-coloured dyes called carotenoids (e.g., beta-carotene). Mom was right, choosing the darker vegetable really does make good nutritional sense!

Cooking: Fresh, raw beans give a lovely snap sound when broken, and are tender but crisp when cooked. I find that green beans are slightly more flavourful than yellow beans, but both are delicious.

Steaming is the best method to cook beans; you’ll lose the least amount of nutrients, get the maximum amount of flavour, and be less likely to get limp veggies. Just cook the beans for 3-5 minutes in a steamer – I use a bamboo dim sum basket – toss with some salt, olive oil, or naughty butter, and serve!


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