Green beans are a delicious vegetable with a crunchy texture, fine flavor, and a vibrant, bright green color. Serve them as a side dish or stirred into main courses.
- Phaseolus vulgaris (scientific name)
- String beans
- Snap beans
- Buncis (Indonesian)
What is Green Bean?
Green beans are the young, unripe fruits of various cultivars of the common bean. They are harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods before the bean seeds inside have fully matured. They consist of a green pod with small seeds inside, and both are usually eaten together as a single unit.
Green beans are sometimes called string beans or snap beans. The term “string bean” comes from the preparation routine that involves removing the stringy piece of fiber from the back of each bean before cooking. Many newer strains of green beans don’t actually have a string anymore, and the only preparation required is snapping off the ends.
What Does Green Bean Taste Like?
Actually, green beans do not have tons of taste on their own. Raw green beans are fibrous and crunchy and taste grassy with a slight bitterness. You should not eat them raw because eating them uncooked may lead to nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and vomiting due to their lectin content. They are best cooked until tender but still in the crisp stage. When this happens, the true flavors open up and the beans become slightly sweet.
How to Choose
Choose young and tender green beans which are more flavorful. When green beans are older, they will become tougher and have a bitter taste.
Green beans are best purchased when still fresh. They should generally be firm and crisp, and they should snap when broken. A bright green color is a good sign, and there shouldn’t be wrinkles, bruises, or dark spots.
How to Store
It is important to store green beans in the refrigerator until right before they are cooked. Place unwashed green beans in a reusable container or plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator for up to one week.
If you want them to last longer, you can freeze them. To do so, rinse, trim, and cut the green beans into small pieces. Place on a large baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Place in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to Trim Green Beans
- Line up the ends of green beans against your knife edge and cut them off. Cut off the other ends with the same method.
- Cut the green bans in bite-sized pieces (optional).
Cooking with Green Beans
Green beans are a popular vegetable because they are nutritious, easy to cook, and versatile. They can be cooked in a variety of ways, such as in stir-fries, soups, and salads. People generally cook green beans as a side dish or as a small part of a larger dish, and they are rarely used as a main course.
When properly cooked, green beans should still have a crisp texture, and a vibrant, bright green color. Overcooked green beans can be mushy with olive-green color.