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Food of the Month: Green Beans

Green beans may seem like a summer crop but in Virginia the season for green beans extends into October.  One of my family's favorite vegetables is green beans so I thought I would pass on a little information about this delicious and versatile vegetable.

What are They?
Green beans come in more than 130 varieties and fall into two categories depending on how they grow: bush and pole. They were not grown in the United States until 1836 but are now high on the Americans list of favorite vegetables.

Health Benefits:
Green beans are an excellent source of Vitamin C and K, Manganese, Folate, fiber, Magnesium, Iron and Phytonutrients like carotenoids, flavonoids and lignans.

Storage:
Green beans are best stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. They will typically stay good for one week. Freezing is also an option and can be done by blanching the beans, allowing them to cool completely, and storing in a plastic container for up to 3 months.

Uses:
1) Raw as a crunchy snack dipped in hummus
2) Steamed
3) Roasted
4) Pickled
5) In salads like a Three Bean Salad

Try this delicious recipe that uses the last of the juicy summer tomatoes in addition to the green beans. Enjoy!

Honey Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Green Beans

Ingredients:
1 pound of fresh green beans
1 pound of cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1) Lightly spray 2-3 baking sheets with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2) Wash and trim the green beans. Place them on 1-2 baking sheets so that they are in a single layer.
3) Halve the tomatoes and place them in a single layer on their own baking sheet cut side down. They should fit snugly.
4) Crush the garlic and then combine with honey and oil. Drizzle over the tomatoes.
5) Bake green beans and tomatoes for 30 minutes. Combine them in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.

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