Cooking Magic with Organic Purple Beans
Have you ever been disappointed when you buy a vibrant, deep- purple vegetable only to have it turn to green when you cook it? I have and I wondered why.
There seem to be several explanations having to do with acid in the cells of the pigment and the anthocyanins (the purple/red phytochemical antioxidants I am always talking about). Beta Carotene is another phytochemical that gives yellow/orange and reddish veggies their color, but it does not disappear when cooked.
Anthocyanins in certain vegetables are only one layer deep on the skin, and cooking starts to break it down and let the chlorophyll, the green pigment, come through. Boiling or steaming increases the speed of this process because anthocyanins are water soluble.
So why are there purple vegetables? They are natural, and Mother Nature knows best. The purple color contrast with the green leaves and makes harvesting easier. The green worms are easier for the birds to spot when they try to eat the veggies too. The pigment does add some nutritional benefit even when it is partially weakened. There are ways to preserve the color to a certain degree.
You can eat the veggies raw and enjoy the full benefit of the beautiful color. They make a dramatic contrast to the usual green, red, white and orange of a crudités plate.
If you sauté the vegetable, quickly, you may capture the color before it turns or create a variegated design, purple and green. You can also soak it in lemon or vinegar. The acid halts the action of the water and keeps the purple color longer. I intend to try at least one of these methods with our purple beans.
The following recipe is a tasty way to prepare the beans, purple or green, and makes use of some other delicious ingredients in our box this week.
ORGANIC PURPLE BEANS WITH MUSHROOMS, GARLIC AND GINGER
1/2 pound Organic Purple Beans, ends trimmed
1/2 pound Organic thickly Sliced Mushrooms
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 thinly sliced organic garlic cloves (or more to taste)
3 teaspoons chopped organic fresh ginger
1/3 cup tamari or coconut aminos
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons organic coconut or brown sugar or raw honey
1 organic scallion, sliced
Saute 1/2 garlic and ginger in sesame oil over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Add beans and mushroom to the mix and stir fry, about 2 more minutes.
Blend together tamari, water, sugar and remaining garlic and ginger. Pour over vegetables, heat, and coat completely. Cook for a few more minutes (3-5) until done. Serve sprinkled with sliced scallion and sesame seeds. Remember if the beans are purple, the longer you cook, the more they will turn green!
If you want to make this a complete meal serve some Brown Basmati or Jasmine Rice, sautéed chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or tofu which has been fried.
Two great salads to have in your repertoire for serving with the rich, heavy meals of the Holiday season, or on a buffet, are Sicilian Orange Salad and Avocado and Pink Grapefruit Salad. A pretty way to sneak Vitamin C and fruit into a meal!
SICILIAN ORANGE SALAD
This is most often made with Blood Oranges in Sicily and Italy, but our Navels are excellent too. There is no actual recipe quantity wise..just arrange as many orange slices as you need on a platter, or a small dish if serving only 2. Scatter thin slices of red onion on top and dot with black olives. Drizzle with a great extra virign olive oil and grind some black pepper over all.
I peel the orange completely, no white remaining and slice. Squeeze the juice from the rind over the slices. It goes well with thinly sliced fennel also.
PINK GRAPEFRUIT AND AVOCADO SALAD
Peel the grapefruit completely, no white pith. Slice between membranes over a bowl to catch the juice. Cut the avocado as demonstrated in the September 1, post. Peel and cut into slices. Alternate slices on a platter and squeeze the juice over them. For a more casual presentation, just cut both into pieces and mix in a bowl.
For each grapefruit and avocado, make a dressing of 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon white balsamic or rice vinegar. Grind some fresh pepper over it and garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
The words of Voltaire, “Imagine how tiresome it would be to have to eat three times a day if God had not made it a pleasure as well as a necessity.”
Cook well, Eat well and Enjoy organic!