Keene State College Dietetic Intern
Green beans are a very abundant crop that can be planted any time after the last
spring frost as either pole beans or bush beans. Pole beans will grow as a climbing vine that may
reach up to 15 feet tall, so they require a trellis or staking. Bush beans will spread up to 2 feet
and do not require as much support (Stillman, 2016). There are several differences to the way
these beans are planted and grown. Pole beans will yield more beans and are very disease
resistant. As they grow to be very tall, it is recommended that they are planted about 3 inches
apart from each other. Bush beans on the other hand require less maintenance and are easier to
grow. They can spread up to 2 feet wide, requiring adequate room for growth. They should be
planted about 2 inches apart from each other.
There are pros and cons to each form of growing beans, but when it comes down to it, the
way in which you plant them is based upon your specific garden. It is up to you to determine
how you think they will thrive the most. Green beans grow constantly so they require frequent
harvesting and watering to ensure optimal growth and taste. Green beans are intended to be
picked at an immature state, meaning that the pod won’t be fully grown at time of harvest. You’ll
know that the pods are ready to be harvested when they look firm, are a decent size and snap or
cut off of the plant. Do not tear the plant when harvesting or you will damage the pod. Once
harvested, store beans in a moisture-proof, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
or blanch and freeze immediately after harvesting.
These tiny green beans pack a nutritional punch! They are a good source of plant-based
protein, fiber, non-heme iron and zinc. One serving of green beans provides about 3g of plant-
based protein that is essential for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Protein is needed for muscle rebuilding and repair, especially after exercise.
Fiber helps regulate digestion, aids in blood cholesterol control and reduces the risk of
heart disease through blood cholesterol control (Academy, 2013). Green beans provide 4g
fiber per 1 cup serving. Be sure to drink an adequate amount of water when consuming
fiber to ensure ease of digestion as well!
. Iron can be found in two forms; heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal
products such as beef, pork, salmon and chicken, where as non-heme iron is found in
plant-based products such as beans, dark green vegetables, enriched rice and whole grains
(Academy, 2014). Green beans provide non-heme iron. Although there are two forms of
iron, they both carry out the same function in the body. The main role of iron is to
transport oxygen to our blood cells to ensure normal functioning.
Zinc is essential for immune function, synthesis of dietary protein, wound healing and to
support normal growth and development (USDA, 2016). Green beans contain this
As you can see, these tiny bean pods provide pretty significant nutritional benefits. How
can you incorporate these into my diet? Well, have no fear, recipes are here! Give these
green-bean based recipes a try as part of your next meal to reap the nutritional benefits of
Red potato salad with green beans and tomatoes
Adapted from: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/red-potato-salad-with-green-beans-
Makes 8 servings
2 pounds small red potatoes
½ pound fresh green beans, trimmed
and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped thinly sliced basil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; add water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until almost tender. Add green beans and cook 5
minutes longer or until beans are crisp-tender. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well.
2. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Combine potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, green onions
and basil in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, oil, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl.
Pour dressing over potato mixture, and toss gently. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Paprika Shrimp and Green Bean Sauté
Makes 6 servings
4 cups green beans, trimmed (about 12 ounces)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1 pound raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 16-ounce cans large butter beans, or cannellini beans, rinsed
¼ cup sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
½ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Put green beans in a steamer basket,
place in the pan, cover and steam until tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and paprika and
cook, stirring constantly, until just fragrant but not browned, about 20 seconds. Add
shrimp and cook until pink and opaque, about 2 minutes per side. Stir in beans, vinegar
and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup
3. Divide the green beans among 6 plates. Top with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with
pepper and the remaining ¼ cup parsley.
Baked Green Bean Fries
Makes 4 servings
12 oz. green beans
1 large egg
2/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp ground salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder(optional)
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Combine the grated Parmesan cheese with the seasonings on a shallow plate and
mix to evenly disperse everything.
3. Whisk an egg in a bowl large enough to drench the green beans in. Drench a
handful of green beans in the beaten egg and let the excess drop off for a few
4. Gently press the green beans in the Parmesan cheese mixture and sprinkle some
cheese over. Toss gently with your hands.
5. Place the green beans on your largest, greased baking sheet making sure they have
room on all sides to crisp up in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking to
see that the cheese has become slightly golden.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Ed.). (2014, January 31). What is iron?
Retrieved May 15, 2017, from EatRight website:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2013, January 30). What is fiber? Retrieved
May 15, 2017, from EatRight website: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/
Stillman, J., Hale, J. D., Burnett, J., Stonehill, H., Perreault, S., &
Boeckmann, C. (Eds.). (n.d.). Broccoli: Planting, growing and harvesting.
Retrieved May 15, 2017, from The Old Farmers Almanac website:
US Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, & Office of Dietary
Supplements (Eds.). (2016, February 11). Zinc fact sheet for health
professionals. Retrieved May 15, 2017, from National Institutes of Health:
Office of Dietary Supplements website: https://ods.od.nih.gov/
By: Sara Hettel, Keene State Dietetic Intern
The days are longer, the sun is out and fresh produce abounds! All this heralds the coming of compost season. Home composting is increasing in popularity lately, but starting your own operation can be intimidating. However, it is worth the trouble! Home composting is a great way to give back to the earth and sustainably reuse items that otherwise would remain trash. The earth has taken care of us for so long; it’s time to give something back!
Though composting and its benefits have stepped into the limelight quite recently, the practice of using decayed organic matter as plant fertilizer has been around since ancient times. The earliest record of composting was on clay tablets in Mesopotamia in 2300 BC and from there the practice spread to civilizations in the Mediterranean, Asia, the Americas and Africa! In fact, Native Americans right here in New England were composting by wrapping vegetable seeds to be planted in scraps left over from fish which had been caught. Even George Washington himself was a huge supporter of composting! Clearly these people recognized as an important concept. Composting is an easy way to reduce and recycle food waste, create more nutrient rich soil and help reduce the amount of pests and disease in our gardens
Known as “Black Gold”, compost is filled with micro-organisms and macro-organisms which break down organic material (leaves, twigs, grass, food scraps etc.) into a dark crumbly soil additive. But what exactly are we doing for the earth when we compost? For one, creating your own micro-organism friendly compost heap at home reduces overall food waste which in turn reduces our carbon footprint. Consider that food waste amounted to 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010 in America alone.
Food breaking down in the landfills generates Methane, a greenhouse gas which is contributing to global warming. Reducing food waste input to landfills is one way to decrease the emission of this gas that’s warming the climate. Pretty “cool” right? Adding compost to soil also helps replenish depleted soils and improves soil health by aiding in moisture retention and suppressing plant diseases and pests which would otherwise be present. Compost is also wildly versatile and can be used for planting new garden beds or lawns, mulch, topdressing for lawns and topsoil for vegetable gardens!
So composting has awesome benefits, but how can you get started?
According to the Washington State Department of Ecology the perfect formula for a compost heap is brown material plus green material plus a little bit of water. “Brown material” refers to carbon rich items such as leaves, dead grass, or dry newspaper. “Green materials” refer to materials high in nitrogen like fruit and vegetable scraps.
4. Top it off with a layer of finished compost or garden soil to inject active soil microbes, you can cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist.
5. The compost should then be turned or aerated weekly, allowing the composting microbes to breathe.
Weekly mixing yields the best results. If that seems like too much of a commitment at first, turning the heap a least a couple times a month is acceptable. Turning the heap helps maintain microbe hydration (they need to stay moist), and air flow. You will know the compost is done and ready to use when it has a dark, crumbly texture with a mild odor; this usually takes anywhere between two months to two years.
The next big question, what can you compost?
Well, to keep the microbes in a compost heap happy, include nitrogen rich materials and carbon rich materials. Grass, fresh plant cuttings, fruit and vegetable waste and coffee grounds are examples of nitrogen rich materials and dried leaves, woody materials, straw and cardboard are examples of carbon rich materials. Be sure to avoid garbage, plastic of any sort (Plastic plant pots, plastic plant tabs , plastic bags etc), rock, brick, or masonry, glass or metal, pet waste, diseased plants, animal products. For a more complete list of what can be composted and what cannot, visit the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
A few last minute tips to consider:
After you have your compost heap up and running, the following strategies will help send you on the path to composting success;
3. Alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles within your heap
4. Helpful tools to invest in include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head
It seems like everywhere we look home composting operations have sprung into existence and are being promoted as the latest and greatest way to take care of the environment. For once, these claims aren’t too far from the truth! Composting helps to reduce our carbon footprint, replenish the nutrients in the soil and grow healthier gardens. This rewarding process is cheap, easy to maintain and simple to get started. Consider adding a compost heap into your life today!
April is National Garden Month
Benefits of Gardening
Gardening is a great way to connect with nature and end up with some tasty results, but did you know that spending time tending your garden has many other health benefits? Four great advantages to working in the garden are listed in this article.
We all know how important and beneficial physical activity is for us, but sometimes it’s hard to fit it in to our schedule or find activities that we enjoy doing. Gardening is a great combination of all three types of exercise- cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility! Many people who don’t enjoy “working out” can find pleasure in keeping a garden. Weeding, digging, planting, raking, hoeing, and watering all require you to move your body in ways that you wouldn’t sitting at a desk. One hour of gardening can burn 200-400 calories- at least twice the amount that you’d burn walking for that time.
Growing your own food is a great way to save money on groceries. You can extend this benefit into the winter by preserving your excess produce to eat while there’s snow covering your garden plot. Having your own garden plot can also increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat, keeping you healthier! Staying well can reduce both the amount of sick days you need to take from work and the amount of money you spend on doctor’s visits.
Eating food you’ve grown yourself reduces your environmental footprint. Growing in your own neighborhood eliminates the need to transport food across the country, cutting down on greenhouse gasses from trucks or planes. A healthy, diverse garden is a great habitat for pollinators that help sustain biological health of an area. Supporting or practicing sustainable growing methods are a great way to take care of the planet!
Connecting with nature can relieve stress and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Gardening has been shown to improve alertness, reduce dementia, and regulate hormones- feel good hormones increase, and stress hormones decrease. Psychological benefits of gardening also come from the increased physical activity, connection to the community, and feelings of self-worth. There is also emerging researching that your makeup of gut microbes can influence your mental health, and digging in the dirt is a great way to increase the diversity of your microbiome!
April Gardening Agenda for New England
Wait to plant outside until the danger of frost has entirely passed. April is a great time to clear debris that built up over the winter from your garden plot. It’s also time to start seedlings inside! An egg carton is a great place to sprout seeds that can be transplanted into the ground after it’s warm enough.
Have any questions about starting your garden this year? Send us an email and our resident garden expert will get back to you.
By Carol Anne Simpson, KSC Dietetic Intern
Fruits and veggies are lacking in many of our diets. 76% of Americans did not meet our fruit intake
recommendations, and 87% of us did not meet our vegetable intake goals according to a recent CDC
survey. In the summer months it seems like a breeze to sneak in fruits and veggies – fresh berries to
pick, juicy peaches to snack on, crisp salads are more than welcome at meals.
Winter seems to makes sneaking in fruits and veggies a bit harder to do. The cold, dark days make fresh fruits and veggies less appetizing – everyone is looking for some comfort food. It’s more difficult to know what is in season, and how to turn what is available into a delicious snack or meal.
This post is focused to help you figure out why eating in season is important, what is available, and
highlights tips (and a delicious recipe) to consume more seasonal produce.
Why should I eat my fruits and veggies in season?
Most of us have heard the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Each are valuable in different ways- most are filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals to help us meet our daily nutrition goals. Eating produce in season carries even more benefits! When picked and consumed at peak ripeness, produce is packed to the max with even more nutrients, as opposed to those picked out of season and shipped long distances to reach your market.
Eating in season is often simultaneous with eating foods grown locally. Choosing produce harvested by your local farmers supports your local economy and cuts down on the pollution caused by shipping produce long distances. Another benefit? Eating seasonally is almost always easier on your wallet!
Choosing in season produce can be valuable to our health and diet. Aside from consuming produce picked at peak ripeness, eating seasonally helps us to break routine and consume more variety! There are so many fruits and vegetables out there to try, choosing those in season is a perfect time to try out some unique choices!
So what is in season anyways?
There are charts all over the internet helping you to know what fruits and vegetables are in season – some are even broken down by what is available regionally. The table below is a good start for winter produce – you can find some of this fresh produce at your nearest farm stand, and may find even more at your local grocery store.
Let’s get it into your diet.
Winter can be a cold, dark season – leaving most of us wanting to snuggle up on the couch after a busy day. As the season changes most of us crave warm foods full of flavor, herbs and spices. Fruits and vegetables can be turned into warm, delicious comfort food. Try having a warm salad – roast some winter veggies, add some in season fruit, and top it on a warm bed of grains. Soup is another easy way to sneak in more winter produce. If you want to get a little more outside of the box, try whipping up the recipe below.
Other ways to include more winter produce are by stocking up on ‘grab and go’ items. Throw some snow peas, sliced citrus fruit, or carrots into easy to-go containers to snack on throughout the day.
This winter, do better for your body, your economy and your environment – eat in season!
Makes 10 servings
1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, wash cabbage head. Once boiling, add head of cabbage to water. About every 45-60 seconds outer cabbage leaves will separate, remove leaves as they separate and set aside.
2.In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, onion, kale, salt and pepper. Place about ¼ cup of this mixture in the center of 1 cabbage leaf. Roll up and tuck in the sides.
3.In a separate bowl, mix together spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
4.In a roasting pan, lay extra cabbage leaves along the bottom. Next layer cabbage rolls. Pour about ½ the spaghetti sauce mixture on this layer of cabbage rolls. Repeat the process.
5.Bake, covered at 350 degrees for approximately 2 hours. *Can use a slower cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
Warm Winter Salad
Makes 4 side servings
Warm Winter Veggie Pizza
Makes two 10" pizzas
CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report – July 10th, 2015
Nutrition 411, 5/15/2015 – Eating More Fruits and Vegetables during the Winter http://www.nutrition411.com/articles/fruits-and-vegetables-eating-more-during-winter-months
Welcome to our new website! We're so glad you stopped by.
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