About Green Beans

Green Beans

Whether you call beans French beans, wax beans, haricots or green beans, they all belong to a large and varied family.

History : The bean is a New World vegetable that had been cultivated for thousands of years by native people in both the north and south of the continent, which accounts for its wide diversity.

Varieties : One variety or another is available all year round and so they are one of the most convenient fresh green vegetables.

French Beans : This name encompasses a range of green beans, including the snap bean and bobby bean. They are mostly fat and fleshy and when fresh, should be firm so that they break in half with a satisfying snapping sound.

Haricots Verts : These are considered the best French beans and are delicate and slim in shape. They should be eaten when very young, no more than 6-7 cm in length.

Thai Beans : These long beans are similar to French beans and can be prepared and cooked in the same way.

Yellow Wax Beans : This is also a French bean and has a mild, slightly buttery taste.

Buying and Storing : Whatever variety, beans should be bright and crisp. Avoid wilted ones, or those with overly mature pods which feel spongy when lightly squeeze. They do not keep well, so use as soon as possible after buying or picking.

Preparing : To top and tail the beans, gather them together in one hand and then slice away the top 5 mm, then do the same at the other end. If necessary, pull off any stringy bits.

Cooking : Plunge beans into rapidly boiling salted water and cook until soft. When overcooked, beans have a flabby texture and also lose much of their flavor. Drain and toss them in butter or serve in a sauce with shallots and bacon. For salads, cook until just tender and then refresh under cold water. They are excellent with a garlicky vinaigrette. Serve with carrots or other root vegetables and savor the contrast in flavors.

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