After abandoning the idea of an Indian origin, today experts agree on the American origin of beans. Both Virgil and Calumella did mention a Phaseolus, but they apparently meant a different legumen of the genus Dolichos, because beans were never found in archa-eological findings from the Mediterranean area. On the other hand, remains of beans dating over 7,000 years were found in the excavations of ancient Mexican and Guatemalan cities. And yet beans did not originate in that area either. While Mexico and Guatemala abound in wild forms of this legumen, they are probably only an area of diversification. The area of origin of the bean is now considered to be South America (Peru and Columbia).
Beans were first introduced into Europe by the Spanish conquistadors. In Italy, they were known to be widely grown in vegetable gardens as early as 1569. From Europe, beans later spread to India, Africa, Indochina, and the rest of the world. Today, they are a major crop thanks to their nutritional properties and particularly as a good protein and energy (From Il Divulgatore)
Phaseolus vulgaris beans are tender and slender with green, rounded pods, 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) long. The pods are eaten whole, including the immature seeds, when they are still young, juicy and tender. They have a delicate texture and sweet flavor. The part eaten are the pods and the seeds. The seeds of the mature pod are knows as flageolets and can be eaten and used as you would do with peas. They can be called green beans or pole beans. Green beans grow on a vine and are actually pods with little beans inside them. Green beans are a delicious side dish for any meal. They can be found Italian style, French style, and simply cut.
French beans are a fat free food that contains vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, and protein. They don’t have a lot of carbohydrates which don’t adversely affect the blood sugar. You can eat all you want and still be healthy. Good source of vitamin C, carotene and a variety of minerals, some fiber but very little protein; low in calories, as most vegetables.
3/4 lb fresh green beans, cut in half
2 tablespoons butter (do not use margarine or vegetable oil spreads)
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
In 2-quart saucepan, place beans in 1 inch of water. Heat to boiling. Boil uncovered 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender (they shouldn’t be “squeaky” when you bite into one); drain. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Be careful not to let butter burn or it will taste bitter. Stir in pecans. Heat, stirring constantly, until butter is golden brown. (If bottom of saucepan is dark, it may be difficult to see the difference between brown butter and burnt butter. Try spooning a little of the butter onto a white plate to see the color more clearly.) Immediately remove from heat. Pour butter mixture over beans; toss to coat. Sprinkle with lemon peel.