Food & Nutrition

Green Beans Galore: From Haricot Vert to Cowpea

Green beans are a popular vegetable in India that is used in a variety of dishes such as stir-fries, curries, and salads. They are a great source of dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and are loved for their crunchy texture and mild flavor. In this blog, we will explore the different varieties of green beans that are available in India.

Fresho Beans - French, Ring (Loose), 500 g Haricot vert or French beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)

Also known as snap beans and string beans, French beans are a delicately crispy and tender vegetable that is widely enjoyed. In India, they are commonly known as Fansi and are a vibrant green colour with tiny seeds inside. While they have a delightful crunch when fresh, they can quickly lose their crispiness and become dry. They are best prepared when fresh and tender. French beans are delicious when simply sautéed with salt and seasoning and can be enjoyed on their own or added to curries, sabzis, soups and raita for their colour and crunch.

In India, French beans are grown in states such as Maharashtra, the North-East region, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. They thrive in cooler climates and are typically cultivated from August to September and from December to February in the northern regions. It is essential to harvest them while they are still tender, as they develop strings if left to mature. For dry beans, they should be allowed to fully mature. While French beans can be grown in various soil types, sandy loam is the most suitable for optimal growth.

Fresho Beans - Cowpea (Loose), 250 g Cowpea Beans (Vigna unguiculata)

Cowpea beans, also known as black-eyed peas, are a type of green bean that is commonly used in African and Indian cuisine. They have a creamy texture and a slightly nutty flavour, which makes them a popular ingredient in curries and stews. Cowpea beans are also rich in dietary fibre and are believed to have a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and improving blood sugar control.

They thrive in warm and dry conditions, making them a crucial crop in arid and semi-desert regions, especially in well-drained loamy soils that are 85% sand. This trailing plant requires staking and serves as an essential source of food for both humans and livestock in desert-like regions. With the ability to fix nitrogen, cowpeas are versatile crops that can be grown alone or intercropped with cassava, sorghum, cotton, millet, maize, and other crops. Cowpeas are also known as “poor man’s meat” due to their high protein content, making them a valuable source of nutrition for those in need.

Fresho Beans - Cluster (Loose), 500 g Cluster bean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba)

Cluster beans, also known as guar beans, are a type of green bean that is native to India. They have a unique flavour that is slightly bitter, which makes them a popular ingredient in South Indian cuisine. Cluster beans are rich in dietary fibre and are believed to have a number of health benefits. They help reduce cholesterol, improve blood flow in vessels, maintain healthy blood pressure levels, and promote heart health. Furthermore, the calcium and phosphorus minerals present in guar beans help to fortify bones, improving bone health.

Cluster beans are commercially grown in arid zones of Kutch, Rajasthan, and Punjab, as they thrive in warm temperatures and drought-like conditions. They can be cultivated in alkaline sandy loam soil. Cluster beans are an excellent source of fibre, potassium, and protein.

Fresho Beans - Broad (Loose), 500 g Broad beans (Vicia faba)

Broad beans, also known as Papdi, Avarai, Sem, Sheem, Avarakkai, and Val Papdi in India, are a popular ingredient in Gujarati cuisine and are used in the famous dish undhio. They are legumes in the pea and bean family and are also known as Flat beans or Fava beans. These thick vines with broad leaves grow in tropical climates, and their pods grow in clusters with no branches. They are cultivated in some states and hilly regions and can be grown during September and October. The seeds of these crops may be yellow, black, or white.

Fresho Beans - Double (Loose), 500 g Double beans (Phaseolus lunatus)

Double beans, also known as lima beans, are a larger variety of green bean that is commonly used in Indian cuisine. They have a creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavour that pairs well with spices such as cumin and coriander. Double beans are also a good source of protein.

In India, double beans are cultivated in several states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh. They are often cooked with red spinach for a delicious and healthy meal.

There are many different varieties of green beans that are available in India, each with its own unique flavour and texture. Whether you are looking for a creamy and nutty bean or a crisp and sweet bean, there is a variety of green bean that is sure to suit your taste. So next time you are in the market, try a new variety and see how it can enhance your favourite dishes.

Buy varieties of fresh green beans here

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