I like produce. I like to grow it. I like to eat it. I like to create recipes with it. I’m also kind of a nerd and like to get to know my produce. I like learning new or fun tidbits of info about the produce I’m growing/eating/baking. If you’re a weirdo like me then buckle up for this new series as I dive into a plethora of produce facts and share them with you. Here we go:
1. Raw green beans are actually a little bit toxic. You’re not going to die or anything from eating them but if you eat them fresh from the garden, you’re eating a tiny bit of poison! The toxins are more concentrated in the seeds than in the pod, so if you are going to eat them raw, choose young pods that have small seeds. Never fear, though, because cooking will break down the toxins and make the beans safe to eat.
2. There are two types of green beans. Pole beans grow much like a climbing vine and require a stake or trellis. Bush beans spread up to two feet and do not require structural support. Bean pods can be green, yellow, purple, or even speckled with red!
3. The average production of snap green beans in the US each year is almost 800,000 tons, with Wisconsin growing almost 300,000 tons alone! So much for being the cheese state!
4. Green beans are the third most popular vegetable grown in backyard gardens, after tomatoes and peppers. It’s probably because they are pretty dang easy to grow in the right conditions.
5. Green beans are sometimes called string beans because when people first grew them years ago they had a fibrous string that ran along the seam of the bean. The string was noticeable when you snapped off the ends. That snapping noise is the reason for its most common nickname.
6. If you are a hardcore green bean lover, you’ll probably want to head down to Blairsville, Georgia the last Saturday in July when they honor the green bean with their annual Green Bean Festival.
7. Green beans grow super fast. The length of time from planting to harvesting is as short as 45 days but only when it’s warm. They hate the cold and will not grow in it.
8. The use of beans has been so ingrained in our culture that there are even a few expressions in English that incorporate them: spill the beans, skinny as a string bean and full of beans to name a few.
9. Green beans contain nutrients that help prevent diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
10. A Guinness World Record for world’s largest green bean casserole was set a few days ago by the Green Giant mascot. It weighed in at a whoppin 637 pounds and was donated to charity after the official weight was taken.
Had you heard any of those fun facts before? Do you have any of your own to add? Is there a particular produce item you want to know more about? I take requests!