Cooking Fresh Green Beans

Fresh green beans are so good and good for you… and you can make them so many ways… with the holiday just a few days away.. I’d like to take the time to post about another fresh vegetable… Green Beans.

We’re so very lucky in this day in age… we can have wonderful fresh produce all the time… why eat canned when you can have fresh?

I while back I noticed in almost every grocery store I went to.. in the produce section you can get wonderful fresh green beans in a bag… and perfect ones… you don’t have to pick through these or even trim them… one better than the next. I also noticed they last in the fridge longer too.

The trouble with green beans is that they can get boring after a while… unless you get a bit creative, that is… they’re perfect for a holiday meal… easy to make… and they can be so pretty on your table. They can be cooked or at least partially cooked several hours in advance and either reheated or finished off just before serving… a perfect addition to a meal that won’t keep you in the kitchen.

This healthy vegetable is perfect when steamed and then a little lemon juice squirted on it just before serving…

Let’s start with cooking methods… they should be just cooked through and a beautiful vibrant green.

In the Microwave:

This method is really quick and easy… just add a little water… about ¼ to ½ cup of water to a cup of green beans… microwave on high for 3-5 minutes for a green bean with a little crisp still left… microwave longer for a softer green bean.

Boiling on Top of the Stove:

I actually really like this method… especially for holidays… just add the green beans to a large pot of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes… drain and run cold water over them or plunge them in ice water. This method is especially good … it makes the green beans a vibrant green and are just beautiful. Let them drain and then use them in a recipe… such as sautéing them briefly by adding them to sautéed shallots and garlic… just cooking them long enough to heat them through… or just zap them in the microwave to reheat quickly.


You can steam either on top of the stove or in the microwave.

Stove Top Method:

You can steam them on top of the stove with a metal steamer set into a pot with enough water to come to the bottom of the metal steamer and not touch the green beans… you do not want to immerse the green beans in the water. Bring the water to a boil and place the green beans in the steamer and steam for approximately 7 to 8 minutes for a tender but still a bit crisp green bean.

Microwave Method:

To steam green beans in the microwave… place about 3-4 tablespoons of water in a microwaveable dish… add the green beans… cover loosely with waxed paper or cover with plastic wrap and leave one corner up to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for about 5-8 minutes for a tender but still crisp green bean… microwave longer for a softer green bean. This method is similar to just making them in the microwave (see above)... by using more water in the other method the green beans do cook faster but steaming will keep them a brighter green.

There are plastic steamers for use in microwave ovens, much like the metal steamers used to steam on the stove top. I own one and to be honest... I don't see any difference in the end result from cooking them in a steamer versus just using a dish with a bit of water in it. If using a steamer, follow the instructions that come with the steamer for the best results.

Sauté Method:

When sautéing green beans.. cook them first using one of the methods above… drain and then sauté briefly… just long enough to heat through.

Try these terrific Green Bean Recipes... perfect for your holiday table:

Green Beans Almondine

Green Beans with Garlic Shallots and Red Peppers

Green Beans with Onion and Bacon

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