Green bean

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 also known as Baguio beans in Philippine English, to distinguish them from yardlong beans.[7]

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

Raw green beans
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy131 kJ (31 kcal)
6.97 g
Dietary fiber2.7 g
0.22 g
1.83 g
VitaminsQuantity %DV
Vitamin A equiv.
35 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.082 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.104 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.734 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.225 mg
Vitamin B6
0.141 mg
Folate (B9)
33 μg
Vitamin C
12.2 mg
Vitamin K
14.4 μg
MineralsQuantity %DV
37 mg
1.03 mg
25 mg
0.216 mg
38 mg
211 mg
0.24 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Fluoride19 µg

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

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.[8] 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.[9].


Green beans were first domesticated in Peru.[10]


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.[11] 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.[12][13][14]

  • 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).[15][16]

Half-runner beans have both bush and pole characteristics, and are sometimes classified separately from bush and pole varieties.[17][18][19][20] Their runners can be about 3–10 feet long.[21]


Over 130 varieties (cultivars) of edible pod beans are known.[22] 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.[23]) 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. 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[24]
  • Derby (1990 AAS winner)[2]
  • Improved Tendergreen[25]
  • Provider[24]
  • Stringless Green Pod (heirloom)[26]

Pole (climbing) types

  • Algarve[14]
  • Blue Lake[2]
  • Golden Gate (yellow/wax)[14]
  • Kentucky Blue (AAS Winner)[2]
  • Kentucky Wonder[2]
  • Scarlet Runner (Phaseolus coccineus)[27]


According to UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAOSTAT), the top producers of green beans (in metric tonnes) in 2012.[28]

1 China16,200,000
2 Indonesia871,170
3 India620,000
4 Turkey614,960
5 Thailand305,000
6 Egypt251,279
7 Spain165,400
8 Italy134,124
9 Morocco133,744
10 Bangladesh94,356


  1. "Green Beans". The World's Healthiest Foods. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  2. "Beans – Vegetable Directory – Watch Your Garden Grow – University of Illinois Extension".
  3. "Growing beans in Minnesota home gardens". University of Minnesota Agricultural Extension. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  4. 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. "Baguio Beans". Maribehlla. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  8. Cook's Illustrated (2004). The New Best Recipe. America's Test Kitchen.
  9. 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
  11. Taylor's guide to heirloom vegetables. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1996. ISBN 0-395-70818-4.
  12. McGee, Rose Marie Nichols; Stuckey, Maggie (2002). The Bountiful Container. Workman Publishing.
  13. Garrelts, C.; Garrelts, Megan; Lee, Bonjwing (2011). Bluestem: The Cookbook. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-4494-0061-3.
  14. How to Grow French BeansRoyal Horticultural Society, RHS Gardening
  15. Capomolla, F. (2017). Growing Food the Italian Way. Pan Macmillan Australia. p. 143. ISBN 978-1-76055-490-3. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  16. 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 February 26, 2018.
  17. "Planting Directions for White Half-Runner Beans". Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  18. Torpey, Jodi (January 9, 2016). "Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening: The Secrets to Growing the Biggest and Best Prizewinning Produce". Storey Publishing. Retrieved May 24, 2018 via Google Books.
  19. 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 May 24, 2018 via Google Books.
  20. Gutierrez, Sandra A. (October 15, 2015). "Beans and Field Peas: a Savor the South® cookbook". UNC Press Books. Retrieved May 24, 2018 via Google Books.
  21. Séguret, Susi Gott (January 24, 2017). "Appalachian Appetite: Recipes from the Heart of America". Hatherleigh Press. Retrieved May 24, 2018 via Google Books.
  22. Facciola, Stephen (1998). Cornucopia II : a source book of edible plants. Kampong Publications. ISBN 0-9628087-2-5.
  23. 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.
  24. "Bean Varieties: Best Bets and Easy-to-Grow". Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  25. "Improved Tendergreen Bush Green Bean". Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  26. "Seedsmen Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  27. Runner beans are beautiful and edible – Oregon State University Agricultural Extension
  28. "Production of Green Bean by countries". UN Food and Agriculture Organization. 2011. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
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