Can You Eat Green Beans Raw to Survive? Is it Safe?

One of the factors that some preppers fail to account for when planning for a legitimate survival situation is just how little choice you will have in the proceedings, at least much of the time.

green beans

Necessity will ultimately make many of your decisions for you, and in the case of water to drink and food to eat, sometimes what you have will be the only thing you’ll have.

It might not be clean enough to your liking, it might not be varied enough, and in the case of food it might not even be cooked!

Some foods are safe to eat when raw, but others aren’t. How about green beans? Can you eat raw green beans to survive?

Yes, raw green beans are safe to eat in a survival situation and they are still nutritious. However, raw green beans have lectins which can cause diarrhea, significant digestive upset and vomiting in high quantities.

For this reason, you should only eat raw green beans in limited quantities if you can…

If you have a limited food supply you can do a lot worse than eating raw green beans. In a pinch, when you have no time or opportunity to cook your food, they are generally safe and a good choice.

However, like most beans the lectins they contain can make you seriously ill if you overindulge.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about eating raw green beans in a survival situation below.

Generally they are, but raw green beans are a broadly safe choice, like many raw vegetables, and they are still quite nutritious and even surprisingly tasty.

They contain many vitamins and minerals that the body needs, and are reasonably easy to digest even when raw.

Lectins are present, but not in levels typical of other beans. More on that in just a bit…

Yes, you can, and if you have any choice cooking your green beans should be the way to go.

Although cooked green beans lose vitamins and minerals in the cooking process, the ones that remain are more easily digested and absorbed by your body, making them more valuable overall.

Also, perhaps more importantly, cooking green beans will deactivate the lectin proteins that can cause such problems in your digestive tract.

As mentioned above, lectins can make you very sick, and in high doses can potentially be fatal although this is quite rare as far as green beans are concerned.

Green beans are a famously nutritious vegetable, and are nearly considered a staple in many households.

Green beans have a lot to offer, including macronutrients like protein, and plenty of vitamins and minerals.

Looking at the vitamin content there is a lot to like, with plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K, and also a great assortment of the B complex vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, and folate.

The mineral content is also good, with green beans having tons of manganese and iron, good amounts of magnesium and phosphorus with lesser but still useful amounts of zinc, potassium, and calcium.

Together, these nutrients can improve everything from basic cellular function and metabolism to the balancing of electrolytes, healing, muscle growth and repair, and more.

There is a reason green beans are such a popular veggie when it comes to healthy eating!

Yes, the skin of the green bean is safe to eat and nutritious. Note that when I refer to the “skin” of a green “bean” I’m referring specifically to the outer hull of the whole bean pod, and not the skin of the beans themselves though these are also safe- it’s a moot point!

However, there is something to be said for removing this outer skin in order to help cleanse the edible parts of the pod from any contaminants that might be present, especially if you’re going to be eating them raw and it might not even have the opportunity to wash them.

We’ll talk more about that in a little while…

Yes, they are. The seeds of a green bean are actually the immature beans themselves, and they are completely safe and edible in this form whether or not they are extracted from the pod.

Usually the pod is eaten with the beans, or “seeds,” but it is possible to extract the beans and eat them alone if you want to.

Yes. The roots of the green bean plant are safe to eat, raw or cooked, but the roots aren’t something you should seek out unless you’re truly desperate for calories or nutrients.

They don’t have much to offer and they don’t taste very good even when cooked, to say nothing of raw…

If you are going to eat the roots of the plant, do your best to wash them off thoroughly first.

Yes, the leaves, stalks and stems of the green bean plant are all safe to eat whether or not they are raw or cooked.

Note that the stems and stalks are likely to be tough and chewy when raw, but they are still safely edible and nutritious.

Special mention should be made about the leaves, however, as they can be used in all the same way as any other salad green.

There are packed with vitamins and minerals, and have antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that can boost health above and beyond what the actual green beans can do themselves.

If you’re gathering green beans to eat raw, make sure you grab the leaves also.

But, if there is any way for you to wash them you should do so: more than most other parts of the plant, it is the leaves that are likely to have harmful contamination in the form of germs or other things from the environment.

Green beans can be found growing wild throughout North, Central and South America and they have been exported as crops worldwide and are among the most popular vegetables to be found.

Any area that has a long growing season and has a temperate to mild climate most of the year is ideal country for green beans to grow and you can expect to find them if you know where to look.

As long as they’re in season and are protected from a hard, deep freeze you’ll find green beans growing tall, as vines, and as smaller, shrub-like plants anywhere throughout their range.

One thing to keep in mind is that your conception of green beans might lead you to miss them in the wild…

They aren’t always green, and can be found in all sorts of hues and colors ranging from speckled orange and tan (almost like a creamsicle) to purple, yellow and every shade of green you can imagine- light and dark.

Accordingly, keep your eyes peeled if you are foraging for them or you might miss them if you are looking for greenery exclusively!

Yes. The single biggest concern when eating raw green beans is one that is shared with all sorts of other beans, and that is the presence of lectins.

Lectins are a type of protein that won’t be properly digested, and can cause significant digestive distress.

Smaller doses will manifest as nausea, indigestion and diarrhea, but larger doses will cause vomiting, significant abdominal pain and potentially even death!

Also as mentioned, lectins are present in all beans in varying amounts, and green beans don’t contain very much compared to something like kidney beans, but this must still be accounted for.

Luckily, giving green beans a long soak and then thoroughly boiling them will neutralize these proteins entirely, and even if you eat a few of them raw you shouldn’t experience any ill effects.

Something else to keep in mind is another hazard that is shared with pretty much every other raw veggie, and that’s the possibility of foodborne illness.

Even green beans growing in the most pristine and natural environment might harbor bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic life that can make you terribly ill.

Fever, diarrhea, vomiting and flu-like symptoms are the rule, though some of them can be way worse and even cause death.

You’re always advised to cook your green beans thoroughly prior to eating them, but if you can’t, at least try to wash them off or rinse them before eating them raw and you can help minimize your risks.

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