Green Beans: All About Them

String beans are the unripe, protective pods, of various cultivars of the common bean. They’re harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods before the seeds inside have matured. Although we still refer to them as string beans, the “stringless” bean was bred in Le Roy, New York in 1897 and most modern green bean varieties do not have strings. Green beans are very high in fiber and are good sources of Vitamins C, K, and A, as well as calcium and manganese.


String beans can be green, purple, red, or yellow. The yellow podded bean is often referred to as a wax bean and can be used interchangeably with the other varieties.

String beans can be consumed raw, steamed, boiled, pickled, braised, roasted, stir fried, and deep fried. The entire pod is edible (even the little “tail” at the end), though the stem end is usually removed before eating.


Store beans, unwashed, in a container or perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer for 5-7 days. Beans freeze well too—simply blanch them before you put them in a freezer bag.


  • Roast! Heat oven to 400º. Toss trimmed beans with oil, salt, and pepper. Lay the beans on a baking sheet in single layer and cook till tender, about 20 minutes. Toss once or twice while cooking. The beans are done when slightly browned and shriveled.
  • Pickle! Make a dilly bean pickle. Use a basic refrigerator pickle brine, and lots of fresh dill for a delicious quick version of Dilly Beans.
  • Stir Fry! Heat 1-2 Tbsp. of sesame or peanut oil in wok or skillet until shimmering. Add beans and flavoring of choice (slivered onions and/or julienned ginger, for instance) stir fry for a minute or two then add thinly sliced garlic if desired. Stir fry for another minute, then season with soy sauce.

Printable version (and a recipe!)

Cooking Tips Meet the Veggies beans green beans green garlic meet the veggies

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