Green beans are wonderful cooked simply and served as side dishes or added to salads. Though they are often called string
beans, their fibrous strings have, for the most part, been bred out of them.
Season: Year-round; peak May to October.
This creamy yellow type is crisp and sugary. Great for pickling or starring in a summer pasta with cherry tomatoes, ricotta, and basil.
Thin and tender, these pricier beans win fans with their complex, slightly grassy taste. Let them shine in a classic French sauté tossed with butter and slivered almonds.
These eggplant-hued stunners have the same flavor as green beans but are a touch tougher. Cooking turns them green, so serve them raw in salads to play up the color. Thinly slice, then toss with farro, goat cheese, lemon juice, and dill.
How to Choose Green Beans
Look for pods that are firm and slender, with a velvety emerald skin. Stay away from green beans in which the shape of the seeds is visible through the skin—those are tough and overly mature.
They should make a sharp snap when broken (thus the name “snap beans”).
How to Store Green Beans
Refrigerate unwashed green beans (damp beans can mold quickly) in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
How to Prepare Green Beans
The fibrous “strings” that gave string beans their name have been bred out of modern varieties, which means prepping them is easy. Just trim off the knobby stem end and leave the pointy tips intact. Rinse in a colander before cooking or serving raw.
To steam green beans, place a steamer basket in a large saucepan with 1 inch of water, bring it to a boil, place the beans in the basket, cover, and steam until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. To blanch them, fill a mixing bowl halfway with ice and add water to cover; cook the beans in boiling salted water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes; using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to the ice bath until cool, about 1 minute; then drain.
Real Simple Green Bean Recipes:
- Pineapple-Marinated Steak With Spicy Potatoes and Green Beans
- Spiced Pork Tenderloin With Green Beans and Olives
- Gingery Chicken With Green Beans and Potatoes
- Spiced Shrimp With Green Beans and Lime
- Chicken Salad With Green Beans and Potatoes
Fruits and vegetables at their peak right now.
Find out what's in season in your area right now, then locate a farmers' market near you.