How to Cook Fresh Green Beans

To cook fresh green beans, trim ends, boil until tender, then sauté with garlic, butter, and seasoning until flavorful. Serve immediately.

I get so excited when it gets close to the time for green beans to be ready in our garden. I love the idea that I can just go out to my backyard and pick some to cook for supper that evening, and there are many ways how to cook fresh green beans.

A great reason why you need a vegetable garden!

I cook mine just like my mother-in-law did. After all, I did learn from her.

Many of the recipes that you find on how to cook fresh green beans are either steamed or blanched, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Not mine.

No tender-crisp green beans in this household. My husband likes them tender and to the point where they are almost falling apart.

How to Store Fresh Green Beans

Keep fresh green beans unwashed in a plastic container or bag in the refrigerator. If not kept in the fridge the green beans will become limp, wilt, and lose their freshness, and they will last about 7 days in the refrigerator.  

Did You Know?

Green beans contain no cholesterol and are a low-calorie food. Too bad we couldn’t eat them just plain.

But to make them tasty, we need to add things that are considered high in cholesterol and calories.  We can only hope that one will balance out the other.

Green beans are also a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin K. They will not lose much of their nutrients whether you steam, blanch, or boil them. 

So cook away! Our plants are just now putting on small green beans so it will be a week or so before they are ready. 

But we got a little impatient so we went to a local produce stand and bought some! I cooked them the next day and they sure did hit the spot.

Maybe this will tide us over until our green beans are ready.

how to cook fresh green beans
Sliced green beans

How to Cook Fresh Green Beans

Cut the ends off the green beans and snap them in half. Wash them well. 

I put my green beans in a colander and set it in the sink. Run cool water over them and rub gently.

Cut 3-4 slices of bacon into small pieces and cook them in a large saucepan with 1/4 cup of onions until the bacon is crisp and the onions are soft. Add the green beans (1 pound) to the saucepan. 

Do not drain the bacon grease. This gives the beans added flavor.

Add water, just enough to cover the green beans. Cook until your desired tenderness.

I cook my green beans for at least 40 minutes to an hour. Make sure and watch them and add water as needed. 

The water will evaporate and you don’t want to burn or scorch them. When the green beans have cooked for about 10 minutes I add 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning and pepper. 

You can add salt to taste as well but be careful as bacon is salty as well.

Frying bacon in a pan
Frying bacon and onion in a pan
Green beans with potatoes
Red potatoes

We are getting new potatoes in our garden so I added a couple of them. If they are small enough I put them in the green beans whole.

If not just cut them into bite-size pieces. New potato skins are very tender so I don’t peel them. 

You can still add potatoes if you don’t have new ones from the garden. Just peel and cut up into cubes.

My Final Thoughts

  • Fresh green beans are often cooked by boiling or steaming to retain their crisp texture and bright green color, similar to how broccoli or asparagus might be prepared.
  • The beans should be washed and trimmed before cooking, removing the stem ends and any strings, akin to preparing snap peas for cooking.
  • Cooking time can vary depending on the desired tenderness, usually ranging from a few minutes for crunchy beans to longer for a softer texture, comparable to the cooking variations seen with carrots.
  • Seasoning can be simple, using just salt and pepper, or more elaborate with additions like garlic, lemon zest, or almonds, similar to how one might season roasted Brussels sprouts.
  • Fresh green beans are versatile and can be served as a side dish with a variety of main courses, from grilled chicken to steak, much like how a fresh salad complements many meals.

Green beans cooked this way are a meal in one. You have your vegetables, meat, and potatoes.

But they make a great side dish to meatloaf. Of course, you can make them without the potatoes. 

The new potatoes just add another dimension to the green beans, plus my husband loves them.

We love it when we can eat out of the garden. There are many times we don’t have meat.

A meal will consist of everything out of the garden: sliced tomatoes, green beans with potatoes and bacon, fried zucchini, cucumbers, and onions sliced in vinegar water, and fried new potatoes with onion.

There is nothing like fresh greens, and adding potatoes and bacon, you can’t go wrong. No matter how you cook fresh green beans I hope you give this one a try. 

Maybe you like your green beans tender and just didn’t know it.

Green beans, bacon and potatoes

Leave me a comment below. I would love your thoughts regarding tender-crisp vs tender.

Have a wonderful day!

FAQ About How to Cook Fresh Green Beans

1. What is the best way to store fresh green beans to keep them fresh?

  • Fresh green beans should be stored unwashed in a plastic container or bag in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and prevent wilting, usually lasting about seven days.

2. How can fresh green beans be cooked to bring out their flavor?

  • Fresh green beans can be cooked by trimming and boiling until tender, then sautéing with ingredients like garlic, butter, and seasoning to enhance their flavor.

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