Green beans are widely available fresh, frozen, or canned. And while they are typically green – like their name indicates – they can also be yellow and even purple. Some are even speckled red.
They can be found year-round, but their growing season is from May to October. The peak season is during the hot summer months.
What are Green Beans
Green beans are commonly grown all over the world and are quite possibly the most popular podded beans worldwide. As noted above, they come in a variety of colors, from green, yellow, and purple. They also have a few different names. Sometimes they are referred to as string beans. Even less common, they are called snap beans. They are all the same bean.
Compared to other varieties of beans, green beans are harvested and consumed along with their enclosing pods before the seeds inside mature. This is similar to unripe peas like snow peas or sugar snap peas.
What Do Green Beans Taste Like
Raw green beans are grass-like in flavor. If not cooked properly, that grassy flavor will come through in the final dish. When cooked to perfection, they have a fresh sweet flavor that is slightly earthy. They taste best when the beans are thinner than a pencil.
They pair nicely with lemon juice, butter, dill, garlic, onions, and over course…mushrooms.
How to Buy Green Beans
Choose green beans that are vibrant, free from brown spots or bruises, and should have a firm texture. One easy way to test them for freshness is to snap one in half. Holding the bean at both ends, bend it in half. Fresh green beans will snap cleanly.
Storing Green Beans
Do not wash green beans before storing them. Yes, the grocery store sprays them regularly but also keeps them in an open space. Assuming your fridge has doors, it’s not the same environment.
If they came in a sealed bag or if you bagged them up yourself, store them this way. They are sensitive to ethylene gas so keep them away from high producers like apples, avocados, or melons. I suggest lining open bags of green beans with a towel to prevent moisture build-up.
Stored properly, they can stay fresh for 10 days or up to 2 weeks. If they brown or turn slimy, they’ve gone bad.
How to Freeze Green Beans
Have more green beans on hand than you can handle? They freeze quite easily. Wash and cut the green beans how you plan to use them, whether just trimming the ends or into smaller pieces. Blanch the green beans, or they will be mushy when they thaw out. Freeze the beans in an even layer on a lined baking sheet for an hour. Transfer them to a freezer-safe container, where they will keep for a year.