Snap Beans
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Snap Beans

Lots of green beans in a pile
A pile of raw green beans
Cooked and cut green beans
Whole raw green beans packed in a punnet for sale
Four varieties of the common green bean presenting variation in color, size, shape, and texture

Green beans are the unripe, young fruit and protective pods of various cultivars of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).[1][2] Immature or young pods of the runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus), yardlong bean (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis), and hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) are used in a similar way.[3] Green beans are known by many common names, including French beans,[4]string beans (for old varieties; modern varieties are stringless),[4]snap beans,[4]snaps,[5][6] and the French name haricot vert.

They are distinguished from the many other varieties of beans in that green beans are harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods, before the bean seeds inside have fully matured. An analogous practice is the harvest and consumption of unripened pea pods, as is done with snow peas or sugar snap peas.

Historically, green bean pods contained a "string", a hard, fibrous strand running the length of one side of the pod. This string was either removed before cooking, or made swallowable by cutting the pod into short segments. Modern, commercially grown green bean varieties are "stringless" and lack strings, though heirloom varieties may retain this trait.

Culinary use and nutrition

Green common beans on the plant
Pickled beans
Canned beans

Green beans are eaten around the world, and are sold fresh, canned, and frozen. They can be eaten raw or steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked. They are commonly cooked in other dishes such as soups, stews and casseroles.

A dish with green beans popular throughout the northern US, particularly at Thanksgiving, is green bean casserole, a dish of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French-fried onions.[7] Some US restaurants serve green beans that are battered and fried, such as green bean tempura. Green beans are also sold dried, or fried with vegetables such as carrots, corn, and peas, as vegetable chips.

Nutritionally, green beans are a healthy vegetable and the flavonol miquelianin (quercetin 3-O-glucuronide) can be found in green beans.[8].


The first "stringless" bean was bred in 1894 by Calvin Keeney, called the "father of the stringless bean", while working in Le Roy, New York.[9] Most modern green bean varieties do not have strings.[3]


Green beans are classified by growth habit into two major groups, "bush" (or "dwarf") beans and "pole" (or "climbing") beans.[10][11][12]

  • Bush beans are short plants, growing to not more than 2 feet (61 cm) in height, often without requiring supports. They generally reach maturity and produce all of their fruit in a relatively short period of time, then cease to produce. Owing to this concentrated production and ease of mechanized harvesting, bush-type beans are those most often grown on commercial farms. Bush green beans are usually cultivars of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).
  • Pole beans have a climbing habit and produce a twisting vine, which must be supported by "poles", trellises, or other means. Pole beans may be common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) or yardlong beans (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis).[13][14]

Half-runner beans have both bush and pole characteristics, and are sometimes classified separately from bush and pole varieties.[15][16][17][18] Their runners can be about 3-10 feet long.[19]


Over 130 varieties (cultivars) of edible pod beans are known.[20] Varieties specialized for use as green beans, selected for the succulence and flavor of their green pods, are the ones usually grown in the home vegetable garden, and many varieties exist. Beans with various pod colors (green, purple, red, or streaked.[21]) are collectively known as snap beans, while green beans are exclusively green. Shapes range from thin "fillet" types to wide "romano" types and more common types in between.[further explanation needed] Yellow-podded green beans are also known as wax beans.[3]

All of the following varieties have green pods and are Phaseolus vulgaris, unless otherwise specified:

Bush (dwarf) types

  • Blue Lake 274[2]
  • Contender[22]
  • Derby (1990 AAS winner)[2]
  • Improved Tendergreen[23]
  • Provider[22]
  • Stringless Green Pod (heirloom)[24]

Pole (climbing) types

  • Algarve[12]
  • Blue Lake[2]
  • Golden Gate (yellow/wax)[12]
  • Kentucky Blue (AAS Winner)[2]
  • Kentucky Wonder[2]
  • Scarlet Runner (Phaseolus coccineus)[25]


According to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAOSTAT), the top producers of green beans (in metric tonnes) in 2012.[26]

Rank Country Production
1  China 16,200,000
2  Indonesia 871,170
3  India 620,000
4  Turkey 614,960
5  Thailand 305,000
6  Egypt 251,279
7  Spain 165,400
8  Italy 134,124
9  Morocco 133,744
10  Bangladesh 94,356
World 20,742,857


  1. ^ "Green Beans". The World's Healthiest Foods. Retrieved 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Beans - Vegetable Directory - Watch Your Garden Grow - University of Illinois Extension".
  3. ^ a b c "Growing beans in Minnesota home gardens". University of Minnesota Agricultural Extension. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Green, Aliza. Field Guide to Produce. p. 126.
  5. ^ Singh BK and Singh B. 2015. Breeding perspectives of snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Vegetable Science 42(1): 1-17.
  6. ^ Hatch, Peter J. "A Rich Spot of Earth": Thomas Jefferson's Revolutionary Garden at Monticello. pp. 159-161.
  7. ^ Cook's Illustrated (2004). The New Best Recipe. America's Test Kitchen.
  8. ^ Antioxidant properties of flavonol glycosides from green beans. Plumb G.W., Price K.R. and Williamson G., Redox Report, Volume 4, Number 3, June 1999, pages 123-127, doi:10.1179/135100099101534800
  9. ^ Taylor's guide to heirloom vegetables. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1996. ISBN 0-395-70818-4.
  10. ^ McGee, Rose Marie Nichols; Stuckey, Maggie (2002). The Bountiful Container. Workman Publishing.
  11. ^ Garrelts, C.; Garrelts, Megan; Lee, Bonjwing (2011). Bluestem: The Cookbook. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-4494-0061-3.
  12. ^ a b c How to Grow French Beans - Royal Horticultural Society, RHS Gardening
  13. ^ Capomolla, F. (2017). Growing Food the Italian Way. Pan Macmillan Australia. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-76055-490-3. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ Watson, B. (1996). Taylor's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables. TAYLOR'S WEEKEND GARDENING GUIDES. Houghton Mifflin. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-395-70818-7. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ "Planting Directions for White Half-Runner Beans". Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ Torpey, Jodi (January 9, 2016). "Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening: The Secrets to Growing the Biggest and Best Prizewinning Produce". Storey Publishing. Retrieved 2018 – via Google Books.
  17. ^ Wonning, Paul R. "Gardeners' Guide to Growing Green Beans in the Vegetable Garden: The Green Bean Book - Growing Bush, Pole Beans For Beginning Gardeners". Mossy Feet Books. Retrieved 2018 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ Gutierrez, Sandra A. (October 15, 2015). "Beans and Field Peas: a Savor the South® cookbook". UNC Press Books. Retrieved 2018 – via Google Books.
  19. ^ Séguret, Susi Gott (January 24, 2017). "Appalachian Appetite: Recipes from the Heart of America". Hatherleigh Press. Retrieved 2018 – via Google Books.
  20. ^ Facciola, Stephen (1998). Cornucopia II : a source book of edible plants. Kampong Publications. ISBN 0-9628087-2-5.
  21. ^ Singh B K, Pathak K A, Ramakrishna Y, Verma V K and Deka B C. 2011. Purple-podded French bean with high antioxidant content. ICAR News: A Science and Technology Newsletter 17 (3): 9.
  22. ^ a b "Bean Varieties: Best Bets and Easy-to-Grow". Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ "Improved Tendergreen Bush Green Bean". Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ "Seedsmen Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ Runner beans are beautiful and edible - Oregon State University Agricultural Extension
  26. ^ "Production of Green Bean by countries". UN Food and Agriculture Organization. 2011. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved 2015.

External links

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