Beans

There are many varieties of beans, most of which can be traced back to Central and South America.

 

Varieties of beans

p beansA. Snake or Chinese beans

These may be called yard-long beans, asparagus beans or long podded cow peas. These green beans are similar to regular green beans but are very long (30-50 cm). Supply is limited. They are used traditionally in Asian and Indian cooking.

B. Green beans (runner or dwarf beans)

They are usually 10-15 cm in length and 1 cm in diameter with rounded pods. The pods are quite tender so it is not necessary to remove any strings. The complete pod is eaten although the ends can be trimmed if desired.

C. Butter beans

Similar in shape to regular green beans but they are very pale yellow/cream colour. The complete pod is eaten although the ends can be trimmed if desired.

D. French or flat beans

Usually about 15 cm in length, they are a flat pod with slightly ridged sides. Most newer cultivars have very few, if any strings, so the complete pod is eaten, although the ends can be trimmed.

Broad beans

The pod may be eaten if the beans are immature. When fully grown only the large and flat bean is eaten and the pod is discarded. The inside of the pod is soft and furry. To open the pod run a vegetable peeler quickly down the seam. Use gloves when podding to prevent staining of hands. Chefs often peel the beans.

What to look for

Beans are best when they are young. Look for fresh and tender pods which make a good snapping sound when broken. Broad beans should be slightly plump with a gloss still on the skin, a good green colour and not too big.

Availability

November, December, January, February, March, April

Note: Supply more plentiful in summer. Broad beans are available early in the season.

Store

Refrigerate in plastic bags. Use promptly.

How to prepare

If desired, top and tail (cut the ends off), then slice or leave whole. Broad beans are always used podded except when very young.

Ways to eat

The taste of beans is best when they are cooked until tender but still slightly crisp. Serve as a side vegetable sprinkled with chopped nuts or fresh herbs. Cold, raw or blanched, beans can be used in salads or used as a crudite with a dipping sauce.

Cooking Methods

Boil, grill, microwave, steam, stir fry.

Nutrition

BEANS - GREEN
Boiled
Nutrition Information
Serving size:  ½ cup, chopped - 68g
  Average
Quantity
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
serve 
Average
Quantity
per 100g 
 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 71/17 0.8% 104/25  
Protein (g) 0.6 1% 0.9  
Fat, total (g) 0.1 0.2% 0.2  
 - saturated (g) trace 0% trace  
Carbohydrate (g) 2.3 0.7% 3.4  
 - sugars (g) 2.0 2% 3.0  
Dietary fibre (g) 2.0 7% 2.9 Contains dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 2 0% 3  
Vitamin C (mg) 4.8 12% RDI* 7.0 A source of vitamin C
Folate (µg) 22.4 11% RDI* 33 A source of folate
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 39 5% RDI* 57  
Iron (mg) 0.3 2% RDI* 0.4  

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

BEANS - BUTTER
Boiled
Nutrition Information
Serving size:  ½ cup, chopped - 68g
  Average
Quantity
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
serve 
Average
Quantity
per 100g 
 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 73/17 0.8% 107/26  
Protein (g) 1.6 3% 2.3  
Fat, total (g) 0.1 0.2% 0.2  
 - saturated (g) trace 0% trace  
Carbohydrate (g) 1.4 0.5% 2.1  
 - sugars (g) 1.2 1% 1.8  
Dietary fibre (g) 2.1 7% 3.1 Contains dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 2 0 3  
Vitamin C (mg) 7.5 19% RDI* 11.0 A source of vitamin C
Folate (µg) 22.4 11% RDI* 33 A source of folate
Iron (mg) 0.3 2% RDI* 0.4  
Vintamin A Equiv. (µg) 9.5 1% RDI* 14  

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

BEANS - BROAD
Boiled
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup - 85g
  Average
Quantity
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
serve 
Average
Quantity
per 100g 
 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 240/57 3% 282/67  
Protein (g) 4.5 9% 5.3  
Fat, total (g) 0.3 0.4% 0.3  
 - saturated (g) trace 0% trace  
Carbohydrate (g) 7.3 2% 8.6  
 - sugars (g) 2.0 2% 2.4  
Dietary fibre (g) 3.6 12% 4.2 Contains dietary fibre
Sodium (mg) 5 0.2% 6  
Folate (µg) 85 43% RDI* 100 A good source of folate
Vitamin C (mg) 16.2 40% RDI* 19.0 A good source of vitamin C
Niacin 2.6 26% RDI* 3.0 A good source of niacin
Iron (mg) 1.4 11% RDI* 1.6 A source of iron
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 25 3% RDI* 29  

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

Broad beans have a richer nutritional content than other bean varieties. They are a good source of folate, vitamin C and niacin, a source of iron and contain dietary fibre.  While the other bean varieties are not as high in these nutrients both butter and green beans are a source of vitamin C and folate as well as containing dietary fibre. While carotenoids are the main phytonutrients in beans, flavonoids are also found in reasonably high amounts.

Retailing

Beans are highly perishable and are sensitive to ethylene. Keep separate from ethylene producing fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Buy small quantities regularly. Display on refrigerated shelving. Sell beans in loosely packed plastic bags. Use QR code on labels.

Store at 7–10ºC with a relative humidity of 90-98%. Broad beans should be stored at 0–2ºC. Beans are ethylene sensitive so store separately from ethylene producing products.

Purchase beans with the New Zealand GAP logo.

Recipes

Courgette and sprout stir fry
Courgette and sprout stir fry

The sprouts in this wonderfully easy stir fry give a lovely nutty flavour and texture. View Recipe

Greens galore
Greens galore

This is a great way to present green vegetables, hot or as a chilled salad. View Recipe

Garlic greens stir fry
Garlic greens stir fry

The vegetables used in this recipe are interchangeable - use whatever is in season or try new ones. View Recipe

View more Recipes

Images

For these images and many more please visit our image library.