How to Cook French Beans

Also referred to as green beans, runner beans, string beans and wax beans, French beans are typically around 4 inches long and feature a bright green color. When the beans are sliced open, tiny seeds can be found inside. But don't worry about removing these seeds before cooking — they are edible and nutritious. French beans are high in fiber, protein, iron, calcium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Avoid boiling French beans, as much of their healthy nutrients seep into the water. Instead, opt for steaming the beans or sautéing them in a bit of heart-healthy olive oil.

It's best to steam or sauté French beans to ensure they keep their nutrients.
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Preparation

Step 1

Pile the whole beans into a large colander. Rinse thoroughly with cool water to remove any dirt or residue. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear.

Step 2

Cut off the ends with a sharp knife. To maintain a sweet taste and crisp texture, trim the beans as little as possible.

Step 3

Slice the beans lengthwise from one end to the other; this creates a French-cut bean.

Steaming

Step 1

Pour the beans into a steamer basket and set the basket into a large saucepan.

Step 2

Add 1 to 2 inches of water to the bottom of the saucepan and allow the water to boil. Once boiling, cover the pan.

Step 3

Steam the French beans for five to seven minutes or until crisp and tender.

Step 4

Remove the steamer basket from the saucepan and plunge the basket and beans immediately into ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave the beans in the water for just a few seconds before removing to your serving dish.

Step 5

Season the beans as desired. For a simple dish, you might use just butter, salt and pepper. For something a bit more savory, consider adding dill, garlic, cumin or red pepper flakes.

Sautéing

Step 1

Steam the French beans using the same process described above. This time, however, only steam them for two or three minutes before removing them from the steamer basket.

Step 2

Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Step 3

Stir the green beans into the heated oil.

Step 4

Add additional seasonings or ingredients as desired. Ideas include onions, bell peppers, mushrooms or small pieces of bacon.

Step 5

Saute the French beans and additional ingredients in the olive oil over low-medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every few minutes to avoid burning or sticking.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife

  • Colander

  • Steamer basket

  • Seasonings, as desired

  • Skillet

  • Olive oil

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