This summer favorite is big on nutrition, low on calories

Green or snap beans can be frozen for use year-round.
Green or snap beans can be frozen for use year-round. Los Angeles Times

Nutrition: Green or snap beans offer a lot of nutrition with little fat and few calories. The difference in calories usually comes down to the size of the beans inside those fresh edible pods. One cup of raw Blue Lake bush beans contains about 34 calories. One cup of Romano broad beans is 70 calories. All varieties are a very good source for dietary fiber, vitamins A, C and K, plus folate and manganese. Like dried beans, green beans also are a source of protein in vegetarian diets.

Selection: Choose snap beans that appear fresh, firm and crisp with bright color and no blemishes. The pod should snap easily when bent. Avoid any that look limp or shriveled at the ends.

Storage: Refrigerate fresh beans in the crisper drawer, wrapped loosely in a plastic bag. Fresh beans will stay crisp for about a week.

Freezing: Green beans can be frozen for use year-round. Blanching maintains their color and firmness. With a sharp knife, trim off stem ends. Cut pods into 2- or 3-inch pieces. Have on hand a large bowl filled with ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling. Carefully add green beans to the boiling water. (This can be done in batches.) For smaller beans, boil 2 to 3 minutes. For broad beans such as Romanos, boil 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove beans from the pot. To cool them quickly, plunge the beans into the ice water. Once all the beans have been blanched, drain the ice water. Transfer beans to freezer bags or containers and freeze, for up to one year.