Principal varieties of green beans for fresh market are Improved Tendergreen, Contender, Provider and Strike; for processing are Bush Blue Lake 247.
Yellow (wax) beans varieties for fresh market are Cherokee Wax and Honey Gold; for processing are Eureka and Gold Rush.
A source of folacin and Vitamin C. One cup contains only 35 calories.
Green and yellow beans are part of the haricot category which have been cultivated as long ago as 7000 BC in the Americas.
Haricots, soy and flat beans have all been sources of food for humans since prehistoric times.
Columbus discovered beans growing in Cuba and, about 15 years later, Jacques Cartier found them near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River.
Beans formed a mainstay of aboriginal diets, particularly in what is now Canada and the south-west United States.
Buying and storing
Look for beans with a smooth pod, ones that will "snap" cleanly when broken. Those that bend are likely drying out or too tough to eat. Also avoid bumpy pods because they contain enlarged seeds that have lost their tenderness.
You can refrigerate these beans for up to one week; they should be stored dry, unwashed and bagged in plastic.
Rinse off and top and tail beans before using.
They can be mixed with corn kernels to make succotash or cooked in boiling water for 8 minutes with the lid off to retain their bright colour.
Serve them with parsley butter; fresh lemon juice and sweet butter; or some chopped green onion and finely chopped garlic. Or try a German-style dressing of sour cream thinned with a spoonful of vinegar and mixed with a little chopped onion.
A Middle Eastern dish might feature steamed beans with olive oil and lemon. A Greek meal calls for slowly cooked fresh beans with tomatoes and cumin.
The French purée them in soup or serve with tuna, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes and olives as part of a salade niHoise. In China, they fry beans with slivered meat and hot peppers, served with rice.