How To Cook Green Beans - Favorite Green Bean Recipes
How To Cook Perfect Green Beans

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Article by Linda Stradley of What's Cooking America.

Green beans are available year round, with a peak season of May to October. Green beans are also called string beans and snap beans. Green beans were once called string beans.
Today's green beans have no strings.

Fresh Green Beans

Cleaning and Preparing Fresh Green Beans:

Wash fresh green beans thoroughly in clear, cool water. Lift beans from the wash water and leave garden debris behind. Rinse again.

Break off the end (the top and tail) as you wash them. Leave whole or cut into desired lengths. Beans can be cooked whole, cut crosswise, diagonally or French-cut. If you want sweet tasting, crisp fresh beans, cut them as little as possible. Cut older, more mature beans in the French style. Make sure all the pieces are similar in length so they cook evenly.

Cooking Fresh Green Beans:

Boiling, steaming, or microwaving are popular ways to prepare fresh green beans. Stir-frying preserves the best qualities of the fresh green bean. Whatever cooking method you choose, remember to cook fresh green beans as little as possible using the smallest amount of water as possible. The fewer beans in the pan, the quicker they cook and the better they taste. If cooking more than one pound of green beans at a time, use separate pans.

Important To Remember: The beans will continue to cook after you remove them from the heat source. Either take them out just before they are cooked the way you like or plunge them in ice water immediately to stop the cooking process.

Boiling or Blanching Green Beans:

Definition of Blanching: This term means to plunge foods into boiling water for a few seconds or a few minutes, then remove and place in ice water. This process sets the color of vegetables. The green beans do not cook all the way through, so crisp texture is preserved.

How To Blanch Green Beans: In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water to a gentle boil. Add trimmed green beans and cook, uncovered, 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender (you may need to experiment with the degree of doneness you like). Immediately drain the green beans in a colander and plunge them into ice cold water to bring the temperature down. A rule of thumb is the beans should spend as much time in the cold water as in the hot. You can also use a steamer basket.

Steaming Green Beans:

Definition of Steaming: The fresh green beans are cooked by the heat of steam from boiling water.

How To Steam Green Beans: To steam green beans, set a steamer basket with the green beans into a saucepan just large enough to hold it tightly covered. Add one-inch of water, bring to the boil, and cover the pan tightly. Regulate heat to moderate. Green beans will take only 3 to 5 minutes.

Microwave Green Beans:

How To Microwave Green Beans: Place prepared bean in a microwave-safe bowl. Add approximately 2 tablespoons water. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving a small corner open. NOTE: If you seal them completely, the plastic wrap will almost shrink-wrap itself to the beans. Microwave on high for approximately 3 to 4 minutes (you might need to experiment to get the beans done to your liking). It is more difficult to get green beans cooked to a precise and even level of doneness when microwaving.

Cooking Green Beans Ahead-of-Time:

Green beans may be cooked several hours in advance. To keep their freshly-cooked taste, once cooked to your liking, dry them thoroughly in clean towels and then refrigerate them in a covered bowl.

Will keep for about 4 days, wrapped in plastic bag or wrap, refrigerated.


Freezing Green Beans:

To freeze green beans, wash, and cut ends. Beans can be frozen directly, or blanched for 3 minutes then submerged in ice water before freezing.


Green Bean Flavor Enhancers:
Dill, garlic, cumin, tarragon

Green Bean Equivalents: 1 pound fresh green beans = about 4 cups

Green Bean Nutritional Value: Good source of vitamin A and potassium. 0 calories per cup.

Favorite Green Bean Recipes
(Fresh, Canned, or Frozen Green Beans)

Asian Green Beans
Asian Green Beans with Leeks

These fresh green beans and baby leeks are easy and quick to put together once everything is ready to go, and the ingredients blend so beautifully together. The tiny red cherry tomatoes add a pop of color as a garnish and are optional.


Fava Beans with Jasmine Rice
Fava Beans with Jasmine Rice

The season for Fava Beans is very short, so if you see them at your local Farmer's Market or are growing them in your garden, give this wonderful recipe a try. Be sure to take the time to get a golden crust on the bottom of the rice.


Forget The Diet Green Beans
Forget the Diet Green Beans

There are certain recipes where ingredients like bacon fat just cannot be substituted. This is one of those recipes!


Green Beans and Potato Salad with Herbs
Green Beans and Potato Salad with Herbs

Late Spring is a good time to find new potatoes at your Farmer's Market, which is what I used in this refreshing and very flavorful Green Bean and Potato Salad. They are so buttery and full of that earthy potato flavor.


Green Beans and Red Bell Pepper in Balsamic Vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is a favorite of mine in any recipe. It truly brings these green beans to a new height!

Green Bean Supreme
Green Bean Casserole - Green Bean Supreme

This green bean dish is considered the ultimate comfort food in America. Most holiday meals (especially Thanksgiving and Christmas) wouldn't be complete without this green bean dish. This dish can be prepared early in the day.


Green Bean Pate
This unusual pate will be a big hit at your next party. Everyone will ask for this recipe, so be prepared!

Green Beans Provencal
Green Beans Provencal

This recipe is from Southern Living Magazine, March 2007.  This tasty veggie combination features trademark ingredients of Province, France. Can be served as either a salad or a side dish with your meal. This recipe was shared with me by my sister-in-law, Shirley Roth.


Green Beans with Balsamic-Shallot Butter
Green Beans with Balsamic-Shallot Butter

This is a great green beans dish to serve at your next dinner party. The addition of balsamic vinegar takes this recipe to a new elevation.


Green Beans with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes
Green Beans with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes

This is a colorful and full–flavored side dish. The combinations of purple and green beans are interesting. Take note, however that the purple beans turn green after cooking. If you love them raw, try the purple in a green salad. They are beautiful!

Green Beans with Maple-Mustard Sauce
Using genuine maple syrup makes for a sweet and spicy green bean dish.

Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnuts Vinaigrette

Green Beans withToasted Hazelnut Vinaigrette

A very light and tasty vinaigrette to compliment these green beans


Grilled Green Beans with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette
Recipe by All Kovalencik, Chef/Proprietor, of the Cauldron Restaurant in Nantucket Island, Mass. These green beans are absolutely wonderful. They are also easy to make.

Marinated Bean Salad

Marinated Bean Salad
A summer staple at our house in the summer. Great for a quick lunch or as a side to a light sandwich.



Mint Green Beans and Egg Salad
This wonderful salad is best served warm.

Red Potatoes and Green Bean Salad
Recipe from More Good Eatz! - A Recipe Collection by Steve Donner of California.


Sautéed Green Beans and Potatoes with Rosemary and Lemon Zest
Sautéed Green Beans and Potatoes with Rosemary and Lemon Zest

Another interesting and great potato salad recipe. Recipe and photo courtesy of the U.S. Potato Board



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