Green beans are a great vegetable with lots of goodness in them, and they have the added benefit of edible pods, meaning you get more vegetables for your money. However, they don’t keep brilliantly well, so if you’re wondering how to maximize their storage life, here are some top tips.
Green beans should be kept in a bag or Tupperware in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. This will help to keep them sweet and fresh for longer, and they may last for up to a week in there. Green beans can also be frozen if you aren’t ready to eat them within this time frame.
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How To Choose Fresh Green Beans
Green beans will keep much better if you choose good ones to start with, and if you have a local farmer’s market, this is the best place to get high quality, fresh green beans from. If they have loose green beans, you can pick through to find the best options.
Green beans shouldn’t have brown marks on them, or purple bruises. Those that do may be fine to eat, but they won’t keep very well, so if you want to store your green beans, avoid any that have been damaged.
The best green beans will have bright, vibrant pods that are smooth and firm to the touch. Beans that are limp and soggy are past their best and won’t taste great when cooked. They certainly won’t store well, either, so pass them by.
Although you obviously should not snap a green bean unless you intend to buy it, the “snap” is the surest test of freshness. If you bend a green bean, it should break across the pod. Beans that bend and mush instead are past their best.
You probably won’t want to go around snapping your produce provider’s green beans, but you should be able to tell by handling the beans if they are likely to produce this crisp break when you bend them. Firm pods will break, rather than squashing.
How To Store Green Beans Properly
Green beans ought to be kept in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator to ensure they stay nice and fresh. You should keep them in the plastic bag they come in, or in a Tupperware like this Komax Biokips Fridge Storage Container to reduce the airflow.
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If you are a bit short on fridge space, you might find something like this Reusable Food Container Silicone Bag works better for you, and it will also keep your beans fresh for longer by reducing the air movement around them.
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You might be wondering why green beans need to be kept in the fridge. As with many of these vegetables, as soon as they are picked, the sugars start to turn into starches, and the beans start to lose moisture. The longer they are stored for, the less sweet and crispy they will be.
Putting them in the fridge slows down the conversion of sugars and can help the beans to retain their moisture. If you leave green beans on the counter, you might find they are limp within a few hours, and most of their flavor will have gone.
If you put green beans in the fridge, the change will happen much more slowly, and your green beans will keep for longer.
You can also store green beans in the freezer if you aren’t going to eat them quickly. To do this, you should slice and steam the green beans for a few minutes, leave them to cool, and then transfer them to freezer bags and freeze them.
Fresh green beans are undoubtedly nicer than frozen ones, but if you aren’t going to use the green beans up in time, this is the best way to keep them.
How Long Can Green Beans Be Stored For?
If you slice your green beans before putting them in the fridge, they will not last well, so it’s best to leave them whole and unwashed. Simply transfer them from your bag to a Tupperware or reusable bag, and place them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator as soon as you get home from your grocery shop.
They should then keep for about a week, provided they were reasonably fresh when you purchased them. They may even keep for a little longer if they were very fresh, but slightly older green beans won’t keep as well.
You should check through the container every couple of days and remove any beans that have turned squishy to prevent them from contaminating the others with mold.
In the freezer, green beans will keep for months, but it’s thought that they lose some of their nutritional value after three months, and more by around the six month mark. If you’re eating green beans for the health benefit, try to use them up reasonably quickly to ensure that you’re getting the most value from them.
Cut green beans will probably only last for a couple of days in the fridge, so don’t slice them until you are ready to use them.
How To Tell If Green Beans Are Expired
Green beans that are starting to show some small brown spots are still okay to eat. Ones that have turned a little squishy and bendy are also still fine. They will not taste as good as really fresh green beans, but they aren’t dangerous to consume.
However, if your green beans are starting to smell sour or they’ve turned slimy, you need to compost them. They are no longer safe to eat, and should be disposed of.
Things To Avoid Doing
- Don’t leave your green beans at room temperature
- Don’t cut your green beans before you’re ready to cook them
- Don’t choose green beans that have dark patches or ones that have gone squishy
Green beans are best eaten as fresh as possible, as they are at the sweetest and crispest then. They are also packed with goodness, and some of this will be lost as the beans age. However, if you aren’t ready to eat your beans yet, store them in a Tupperware or sealer bag in your fridge’s crisper drawer for up to a week.