Field to Fork Snap Beans! (FN1798, Reviewed Jan. 2020)

Snap beans are delicious vegetables that are easy for people of all ages to grow. They are easy to preserve, so we can enjoy them year-round.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Kaitlin Bruun, Community Nutrition Practicum Student

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Snap beans grow best in warm weather, so in the Midwest, wait until late May to early June to begin planting. Plant them about 8 inches apart in double rows. The plant will produce white flowers, which will produce pods. Harvest the snap beans when they still are immature but firm. They should “snap” in half when bent.

For more information about growing a variety of fruits and vegetables.


Freezing: To help retain color and texture during frozen storage, be sure to blanch snap beans in boiling water for three minutes. Next, drain, chill and package the beans in freezer containers or bags labeled with the contents and date.

Learn more about freezing vegetables in the NDSU Extension Service publication “Freezing Vegetables” (FN187).

Canning: Snap beans can be preserved safely using a pressure canner following current guidelines, but do not process them in a boiling water-bath canner. Snap beans are among the low-acid vegetables. However, beans can be pickled and processed in a boiling water-bath canner.

Follow current pressure-canning procedures in the NDSU Extension Service publication “Home Canning Low-acid Vegetables” (FN173).

For more information about pickling, see the NDSU Extension Service publication “Making Pickled Products” (FN189).


Snap beans are a low-calorie food. One cup of fresh green beans has 31 calories, 0 grams (g) fat, 2 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 6 milligrams sodium. They also contain other nutrients, such as vitamins A, C and K, as well as folate and potassium.


Pickled Dilled Beans

4 pounds fresh, tender green or yellow beans (5 to 6 inches long)
8 to 16 heads fresh dill
8 cloves garlic (optional)
½ c. canning or pickling salt
4 c. white vinegar (5 percent)
4 c. water
1 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (optional)

Wash and trim ends from beans and cut to 4-inch lengths. In each sterile pint jar, place one to two dill heads and, if desired, one clove of garlic. Place whole beans upright in jars, leaving ½ inch head space. Trim beans to ensure proper fit if necessary. Combine salt, vinegar, water and pepper flakes (if desired). Bring to a boil. Add hot solution to beans, leaving ½ inch head space.

Know your altitude prior to selecting your processing time. Adjust lids and process in boiling-water bath for five minutes if your altitude is less than 1,000 feet, for 10 minutes if your altitude is 1,001 to 6,000 feet or 15 minutes if your altitude is above 6,000 feet. Makes about 8 pints.

Soup-er Creamy Vegetable Soup

2 tsp. butter                                                2 c. green beans
1 small onion, chopped                              ½ tsp. salt
1 (14.5-oz.) can fat-free chicken broth      ¼ tsp. pepper
1 large potato, cubed                                 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
1½ c. sliced carrots                                    2½ c. reduced-fat milk

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, potato and carrots; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for five minutes. Add green beans, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes. Place flour in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in milk, mixing well. Add milk mixture to soup; bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for five minutes, until vegetables are tender and soup has thickened.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 180 calories, 2.5 g fat, 9 g protein, 33 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 580 mg sodium.

Snap Bean Provencal

1 (16-oz.) package frozen green beans
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil over moderate heat in a skillet. Add green beans and sauté until heated through and soft-textured. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chopped parsley just before serving.

Makes eight servings. Each serving (before added salt) has 40 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g protein, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber and 0 mg sodium.

Basil dip

Fresh Green Beans With Creamy Basil Dip

½ pound fresh green beans, washed and stemmed
1/3 c. low-fat mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. low-fat milk
1 tsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Wash beans well and snap off ends. Mix together all of the ingredients for the dip, leaving out the green beans for dipping. Keep everything refrigerated until just before serving time.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 35 calories, 0.5 g fat, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 160 mg sodium.

Key to abbreviations

c. = cup                                            oz. = ounce

tsp. = teaspoon                                    g = gram

Tbsp. = tablespoon                           mg = milligram

Funding for this publication was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM170100XXXXG005.
Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

For more information on this and other topics, see

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