Sweet, crisp green beans are one of the first summer vegetables to come to the farmers’ market. Here are our best tips for choosing and working with green beans, along with some of our favorite recipes to showcase their delicate flavors (like the delicious green bean salad above)!
Look for: Green beans should snap easily when broken, and they should be vibrant green with velvety smooth pods. Make sure they don’t have any brown spots or bruises. To store them, wrap in paper towels in a plastic bag for up to 3 days in the refrigerator; leave the bag open to prevent mold.
Prep tips: Rinse the beans under cold running water. Snap off the pointy stem ends and remove any tough strings along the length of the bean. To keep their color bright, cook them whole at a high temperature for just a brief period of time. Lock in their color and crisp texture by refreshing in cold water just after cooking.
Types & uses: Popular varieties of green beans include Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder, Roma and young scarlet runner beans. They take well to a variety of cooking techniques, from boiling and steaming to sauteing and deep-frying. Add them to soups to provide color and contrast to other vegetables. They’re also great for canning and pickling. Serve them raw on crudites platters, in composed salads, or just along, blanched, then chilled with a drizzle of vinaigrette.
Variations: Haricots verts are slim, delicate green beans beloved in France, and they are increasingly available at farmers’ markets. Wax beans are a close relative, with a vibrant yellow or dark purple color and a slightly waxier texture. They can be added used in place of green beans in almost any recipe.
|Cherry Tomato, Green Bean and Wax Bean Salad with Herbed Bread Crumbs
You can use any kind of snap bean in this salad, but it looks especially pretty with a mix of green beans and pale yellow wax beans.
|Mixed Garden Bean Salad with Shallots
This recipe combines three kinds of beans—shelling beans, wax beans and haricots verts—into a garden-fresh summer salad, perfect for picnics.
|Green Bean Bundles with Bacon and Brown Sugar
Wrapped with a strip of bacon, these green bean bundles add an elegant touch to a dinner table. Serve as a side dish or a starter.
|Shrimp Salad with Potatoes and Green Beans
Here, fresh dill, green onions, lemon and mustard combine with green beans and boiled shrimp to make a flavor-packed main course salad.
|Grill-Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans
In this all-in-one recipe, potatoes and green beans cook along with two whole chickens, absorbing the birds’ flavorful juices.
|Braised Salmon with Green Beans
Yes, you can use your slow cooker in the summer — especially when days are too hot for the stove! Salmon becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender after a short braise, and haricots verts are cooked just until tender.