Green beans are one of those versatile veggies that sometimes don’t get the credit that they truly deserve. They’re an easy-to-grow veggie but they’re also pretty affordable in the store and can be purchased or prepared in any number of ways.
Today we’re going to look at some great green bean highlights and give these long green pods the recognition they deserve.
What’s in a Name?
Green beans, as we call them, can also be found in many places of the country or world under other names. Some of the more common names for these legumes include French beans, String beans, Snap beans, and Snaps.
While these veggies might go by different names, the same fact hold true: they’re pretty good for you. Green beans are naturally high in vitamin K and they contain calcium which means that they’re good for your blood health and your bone health.
How Green Beans Grow
Green beans are grown in bushes or on poles and can do well as a plant in a garden bed, raised garden planter box, or even a pot. They only take about 50-60 days to grow and mature so you can reap your rewards sooner rather than later.
The pods are ready for picking when they’re about 4-6 inches long and bright green. If you’re careful at removing them when picking from the bush, you can see more flowers and grow. This means that you can continue to grow and harvest green beans off that plant. One planted green bean bush can produce about 120 bean pods so you definitely get some great usage out of each one!
But what to do with so many green beans? The simple answer- cook them of course!
Down below you will see several incredible green bean recipes featuring canned, frozen, and fresh versions of the veggie. But first, we’ll talk about the fresh ones because they are still “fresh” on the mind.
How to prepare fresh green beans for cooking? Can green beans be eaten raw? What’s the healthiest way to eat a green bean?
These are some pretty common and easy to answer questions that’d I’d like to quickly go over.
Green Bean Prep
Preparing green beans for cooking is easy but can seem a bit tedious if you’re working with a large batch at once so I recommend enlisting the help of kids or someone else to make the process a bit faster and more fun.
- First, start by thoroughly washing the green beans to remove any dirt and discard the “ugly” green beans that look old, wrinkled, or decaying as we do not want to eat these.
- Then trim off the ends of the green beans. You want to remove the top and bottom pieces as these are usually harder and usually less fun to chew on.
- If your green bean is really long you can trim it up to be smaller by cutting it in half or thirds so that all of your green beans are relatively the same size for your dish.
- Cook and use as directed in a recipe.
A good tip to note is that you do not want to trim the green beans too far in advance (usually just before cooking). Trimming helps moisture to leave the bean if left sitting and will result in dried-out veggies, which we want to avoid.
Raw vs Cooked
Green beans shouldn’t be consumed raw as they contain a good amount of lectin which in large amounts can trigger unsavory symptoms that will leave you spending a few hours in the bathroom and feeling unwell so it’s always best to cook them before eating.
The simplest way to prepare green beans is through steaming. Steaming veggies is an easy way to cook and warm the veggies while not removing a lot of nutrients like you would through boiling or a long-cook process. It’s important to note, however, that eating veggies in any form is awesome! There is no right or wrong, good or bad to the food you eat.
Instant Pot Green Beans
A great fresh green bean recipe that steams green beans is my Instant Pot Green Beans recipe.
This recipe is fast, simple, and easy (just the way we like it). Made with freshly prepared green beans and a few basic seasonings, these green beans are a perfect side dish to serve with dinner.
Green Bean Casserole From Scratch
If you’re looking for a holiday side dish or a comfort meal made healthy and easy, then this casserole is it. Green bean casseroles have been a staple in many homes around the holidays for decades (if not longer) but they usually use canned greens instead of fresh.
In this homemade green bean casserole recipe, we use fresh green beans, no condensed soups, and give our casserole a twist with cheese and bread crumbs that truly make it stand out and taste incredible.
Frozen Green Bean Recipes
Can green beans be frozen? If you have a lot of fresh green beans on hand you can freeze them for later through an easy process called blanching. This is where you prepare the green beans as stated above by washing and trimming to desired lengths and then boil them for a few minutes before placing the greens into an ice bath.
The process is a bit time-consuming as you want to boil the green beans for 2-4 minutes before placing them in the ice bath. What this does is remove enzyme actions that would otherwise take away the color, flavor, and texture. This means that your frozen green beans will be vibrant in color, crunchy, and perfect when thawed. Not only that but this process helps to hold in a lot of the vitamins so that fewer are lost.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with store-bought frozen green beans either and they can always be a great asset in the kitchen for reducing time spent prepping dinner. I use these frequently in my kitchen.
How to Cook Frozen Green Beans
While you can roast frozen green beans in the oven and get delicious results, an easier way to cook them is up on the stovetop. Our cooked frozen green beans recipe is made in a skillet with onion and butter. Check it out soon and you can whip up a tasty batch of cooked green beans in no time at all. We love serving them up with way because they’re full of flavor and mouth-wateringly good.
Canned Green Bean Recipes
Canned green beans are often not given the same respect as the fresh or frozen versions but they’re still incredible and comforting. Not only that but they can be significantly cheaper year-round instead of just during the “in-season.”
I always purchase green beans with no sodium added so that I can flavor them perfectly myself when I cook them. We eat canned green beans the most out of any other prep method for green beans.
Rinsing the green beans before use can also help to remove any “tin-can” flavor and some additional sodium but be gentle because the greens are usually soft and easier to mush. I honestly never do this but if it’s something you’re sensitive to, you can go ahead and give them a rinse.
Easy and Flavorful Canned Green Beans
This easy canned green bean recipe is one of our tried and true favorites and brings back a touch of nostalgia from when my mom would cook them this way. We all enjoy eating our green beans like this and it’s not hard to see why.
Made with a can of green beans, simple seasonings (like salt, pepper, onion powder), and butter this dish is frugal and simple. Ironically, this is also one of the most popular recipes on my website!
Canned Green Beans with Bacon
Of course, you can’t forget about how well green beans and bacon go together. The salty savory bacon mixed with the tasty comforting green beans is a pair that feels like a match made in heaven.
My green beans with bacon recipe is another instant winner and perfect as a side dish throughout the year as it goes well with just about anything. I feel it’s perfect with barbecued and roasted meats, but I’m sure you can find a few unique uses for it as well.
With so many different varieties and ways to serve up green beans, it’s no wonder why we love them so much around here. This versatile veggie is always ready to be served up in a tasty dish and I hope that these tips and recipes have provided you with enough inspiration to cook up something new and exciting soon.