To Your Health | Enhance green beans' flavor with simple recipe

To Your Health | Enhance green beans' flavor with simple recipe

If you have visited any farmers markets recently, you know that it's hard to walk even a few steps without a bright, fresh and delicious bunch of produce catching your eye.

June is a great time of year for fresh fruits and vegetables from Illinois farmers.

With that in mind, I do have a confession: Green beans are a vegetable I rarely buy fresh.

Canned and frozen green beans are such a staple in our home and full of nutrition, too.

My youngest child, while currently on an anti-vegetable crusade, loved canned green beans when she was younger because they were softer and easier to chew.

However, eating fresh green beans is definitely something I need to start doing more often — and so do you!

Why?

Recipes like this one taste that much better when made with fresh, seasonal green beans. Every time I use them in a recipe, they turn out so delicious, and I wonder why I do not buy them fresh more often.

While you can buy fresh green beans all year, they are typically available from Illinois farms from June to August.

At the store or farmers market, look for green beans that are fresh and crisp, with bright color. Avoid beans that have cuts of dark bruises. You can store them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for one week.

Wash fresh green beans with clean, cold water to remove any dirt and repeat. Remove stems before cooking by snapping them off or trimming away with knife.

Green beans are naturally fat- and sodium-free, and are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.

This is the perfect side dish to go along with grilled burgers, chicken or fish. Add a whole-wheat dinner roll and dish of fresh strawberries for the perfect summer meal.

SIMPLY TASTY GREEN BEANS

Servings: 4 (about 1/2 cup each)

1/2 cup green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups fresh green beans, washed and trimmed

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)

Spray medium skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Cook green pepper and onion until soft over medium heat.

Add butter, green beans, garlic and pepper.

Cook until beans are crisp yet still tender.

Find more recipes from University of Illinois Extension at "EAT.MOVE.SAVE.: Making Healthier Choices on a Budget" at go.Illinois.edu/EatMoveSaveRecipes.

Beth Peralta is a registered dietician and media communications specialist for University of Illinois Extension, and a spokesperson for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. Contact her at 217-244-7405 or cavaller@illinois.edu.

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