Green bean
Green bean

Old English "bean," from Germanic, a legume picked when immature.

"Bean" refers to the fruit, the pod and the seeds. From 8 to 20 cm long, green, yellow or striped with red, the pod holds 4 to 12 seeds.

The green bean was born in the hot regions of the Americas, India and China. It was introduced to France by the Conquistadors about 1597. For a long time rare and expensive, this vegetable became widespread only in the 19th century. The first to put green beans on their menus were the French. Digestible, low in calories and filled with vitamins, green beans are the darlings of women who are keeping an eye on their figure!

There are different varieties of green beans: string beans (the classic variety), snap beans, butter beans… Green beans are categorized according to size:

  • Very thin: maximum width under 6 mm
  • Thin: maximum width between 6 and 9 mm
  • Medium: maximum width above 9 mm

 Nutritional values per 100 g
Calories: 30; Protein: 2 g; Carbohydrates: 7 g; Fat: 0.2 g.
Rich in fibre, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A.

Buying green beans
Choose green beans with long pods that are firm, plump and slightly shiny. They should break in half with a snap. Avoid any that feel soft. Buy green beans young: they are less likely to be stringy.

They will keep for two or three days in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator. Do not sprinkle them with water since they rot easily. They freeze easily and do not need to be blanched first.

Cooking tips

  • Green beans cannot be eaten raw because of their high starch content.
  • Steam, boil , braise, sauté etc. They should be tender but not overcooked.
  • To keep them green, place them into a large pot of boiling water and do not cover during cooking. As soon as they're done, plunge them into ice water. The temperature shock will set the chlorophyll (the vegetable's green pigment) .
  • Cut off the stem ends, and the tips if necessary.


  • French-style - Sauté with a little garlic, or sauté in butter with parsley jus.
  • Crunchy salad - green beans, shredded endive, diced avocado, lemon and olive oil dressing.
  • "Stew" them with tomatoes, onion, a bouquet garni, salt and pepper and some butter.
  • Salade niçoise - green beans, anchovy fillets, black olives, tomatoes, sweet peppers, hardboiled eggs
  • Combine with a mixture of beaten eggs and crème fraîche and a sprinkling of nutmeg
  • Make a soup from large green beans (cut into pieces) and potato, served with a purée of basil, olive oil and garlic
  • Sauté in butter with flaked almonds and a few sprigs of chervil

Worlwide Gourmet
Cooked green beans with diced tomatoes, bacon, hot chilies, garlic and chopped fresh basil

Salad of green beans, strips of sweet pepper, onion, tomato and salsa

Called sitaw in Tagalog and hamtak in Aklanon, this kind of bean is paler than the normal variety. In the Philippines, it is not cooked whole but broken into two or three segments.

Green beans are frequently used in vegetarian dishes, as well as in a Szechwan dish that bears the name of this bean. It is sautéed with pieces of pork, seasoned with pepper and soy sauce.


Search within the site
Advanced search >
Register free to receive our official newsletter
Sign up
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:
Get the daily and monthly recipe posts automatically added to your newsreader.
Sign up