Green bean

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For the green-colored bean commonly used in east and southeast Asian cuisine, see mung bean.
Green common beans on the plant
Cooked, cut green beans
Whole green beans in a carton

Green beans, also known as string beans, or snap beans in the northeastern and western United States, are the unripe fruit of various cultivars of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).[1][2] Green bean cultivars have been selected especially for the fleshiness, flavor, or sweetness of their pods.

Haricots verts, French for "green beans", also known as French beans, French green beans, French filet beans, or fine beans (British English), is a variety of green bean that is longer, thinner, crisp, and tender.[citation needed] It is different from the haricot bean, which is a dry bean.

Culinary use[edit]

Beans, snap, green, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 131 kJ (31 kcal)
6.97 g
Dietary fiber 2.7 g
0.22 g
1.83 g
Vitamin A equiv.
35 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.082 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.104 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.734 mg
0.225 mg
Vitamin B6
0.141 mg
Folate (B9)
33 μg
Vitamin C
12.2 mg
Vitamin K
14.4 μg
Trace metals
37 mg
1.03 mg
25 mg
0.216 mg
38 mg
211 mg
0.24 mg
Other constituents
Fluoride 19 µg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Green beans are of nearly universal distribution. They are marketed canned, frozen, and fresh. Green beans are often steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles. A dish with green beans popular throughout the United States, particularly at Thanksgiving, is green bean casserole, which consists of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions.[3]

Some restaurants in the USA serve green beans that are battered and fried, and Japanese restaurants in the United States frequently serve green bean tempura. Green beans are also sold dried and fried with vegetables such as carrots, corn, and peas.

Beans contain high concentrations of lectins and may be harmful if consumed in excess in uncooked or improperly cooked form.

The flavonol miquelianin (Quercetin 3-O-glucuronide) can be found in green beans.[4]


Green beans are found in two major groups, bush beans and pole beans.[5]

Bush beans are short plants, growing to approximately two feet in height, without requiring supports. They generally reach maturity and produce all of their fruit in a relatively short period of time, then cease to produce. Gardeners may grow more than one crop of bush beans in a season.

Pole beans have a climbing habit and produce a twisting vine. Runner beans have a similar habit but are a different species of bean.


Over 130 varieties of green bean are known.[6] Varieties specialized for use as green beans, selected for the succulence and flavor of their pods, are the ones usually grown in the home vegetable garden, and many varieties exist. Pod color can be green, purple, red, or streaked. Shapes range from thin "fillet" types to wide "romano" types and more common types in between.

Many but not all bean pods contain a string, a hard fibrous spine running the length of the pod. This is often removed before cooking, or may be made edible by cutting the pod into short segments. 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.[7]

The following varieties are among the most common and widely grown in the USA. Closely related varieties are listed on the same line.

Bush types[edit]

  • Bountiful, 50 days (green, heirloom)
  • Burpee's Stringless Green Pod, 50 days (green, heirloom)[7]
  • Contender, 50 days (green)
  • Topcrop, 51 days (green), 1950 AAS winner
  • Red Swan, 55 days (red)
  • Blue Lake 274, 58 days (green)
  • Maxibel, 59 days (green fillet)
  • Roma II, 59 days (green romano)
  • Improved Commodore / Bush Kentucky Wonder, 60 days (green), 1945 AAS winner
  • Dragon's Tongue, 60 days (streaked)
  • Jade / Jade II, 65 days (green)

Pole types[edit]

  • Blue Lake, 60 days (green)
  • Fortex, 60 days (green fillet)
  • Kentucky Blue, 63 days (green), 1991 AAS winner
  • Old Homestead / Kentucky Wonder, 65 days (green, heirloom)
  • Rattlesnake, 72 days (streaked, heirloom)
  • Purple King, 75 days (purple)
  • Witsa, 70-80 days (green, hairless). Witsa is available in South Africa, uncommon elsewhere.


According to UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAOSTAT), the top producers of green bean (in metric tonnes) in 2012.[8]

Rank Country Production
1  China 16,200,000
2  Indonesia 871,170
3  India 620,000
4  Turkey 614,965
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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Green Beans". 
  2. ^ "Beans - Vegetable Directory - Watch Your Garden Grow - University of Illinois Extension". 
  3. ^ The New Best Recipe. America's Test Kitchen. 2004.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ McGee, Rose Marie Nichols; Stuckey, Maggie (2002). The Bountiful Container. Workman Publishing. 
  6. ^ Facciola, Stephen (1998). Cornucopia II : a source book of edible plants. Kampong Publications. ISBN 0-9628087-2-5. 
  7. ^ a b Taylor's guide to heirloom vegetables. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1996. ISBN 0-395-70818-4. 
  8. ^ "Production of Green Bean by countries". UN Food & Agriculture Organization. 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-02.