Green beans: vegetables on the outside, legumes on the inside
Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on August 9, 2008.
Wax beans or green beans that can be eaten whole (pod and seed) are consumed as vegetables, but they contain more proteins than most other vegetables, and they are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
As a matter of fact, they are a young, unripe variety belonging to a family of legumes. Beans are generally cultivated for their seeds (for example, romano beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans).
Originating in Central and South America, beans first spread to Europe and then to the rest of the world, thanks to Spanish and Portuguese explorers. The main vegetable in soups and stews, green beans are also known as «fèves» (snap beans) in Quebec, although in the botanic sense, the term «fève» only applies to members of the Vicia family (which includes, for example, broad beans).
Try our recipe for Tomato and Green Bean Salad