NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


| Share

Green Bean

Green bean


                Our wet, wet weather is a favorite of garden produce with heavy foliage – such as green beans – which are producing in abundance in many gardens. Green beans, also known as string beans, or snap beans in the northeastern and western United States, are the unripe fruit and protective pods of various cultivars of the common bean

                They are distinguished from the many differing varieties of beans primarily grown for their dried seeds in that green beans are harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods, typically before the seeds inside have fully matured. This practice is the same as harvesting of unripen snow pea pods or sugar snap peas of the pea family of plants.

                Haricots verts, French for "green beans" (also known as French beans, French green beans, French filet beans, or fine beans is a variety of green beans that is longer, thinner, crisper, and more tender than "standard" green beans.[

                Green beans are eaten around the world, and are marketed canned, frozen, and fresh. Green beans are often steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles. Green bean casserole combining green beans, cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions is a standard dish in American homes during holiday meals.  

                Some US restaurants serve green beans that are battered and fried, and Japanese restaurants in the US frequently serve green bean tempura. Green beans are also sold dried, and fried with vegetables such as carrots, corn, and peas.

                Many but not all bean pods contain a "string", a hard fibrous strand running the length of the pod. This is often removed before cooking, or may be made edible by cutting the pod into short segments. The first "stringless" bean was bred in 1894 by Calvin Keeney, called the "father of the stringless bean".

                Because of their rich green color, we don't always think about green beans as providing us with important amounts of colorful pigments like the orange hued carotenoids. But they do! Recent studies have confirmed the presence of lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin in green beans. In some cases, the presence of these carotenoids in green beans is comparable to their presence in carrots and tomatoes. The only reason we don't see these carotenoids is because of the concentrated chlorophyll content of green beans and the amazing shades of green that it provides.

                Green beans are classified into two major groups, "bush" beans and "pole" beans.[6]

Bush beans are short plants, growing to approximately 2 feet in height, without requiring supports. They generally reach maturity and produce all of their fruit in a relatively short period of time, then cease to produce. Gardeners may grow more than one crop of bush beans in a season. Pole beans have a climbing habit and produce a twisting vine, which must be supported by trellises, cages, or other means. Runner beans have a similar habit but are a different species of bean.          

                Whatever variety of green beans your garden produces or you purchase at a Farmers’ Market, if your plans included preserving the bean, choose either freezing or pressure canning as green beans are a low-acid food.  For more info on preserving green beans at home, check out the NDSU Extension Service publication, “Home Canning Low-acid Vegetables” at: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications or pick up a copy in the Ramsey County Extension Office, second floor of the Ramsey County Courthouse, #662-7027.


Buttery Garlic Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped in half

3 T. butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 pinches lemon pepper

Salt to taste


                Place green beans into a large skillet and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beans start to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain water. Add butter to green beans; cook and stir until butter is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

                Cook and stir garlic with green beans until garlic is tender and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with lemon pepper and salt.


Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.