Green beans are long and flat and can grow up to ten inches in length, though will be at their best flavor and texture when picked at six to eight inches. The bean pods are smooth and have a bright green exterior which encases a crisp, slightly juicy interior and petite undeveloped seeds or beans. These beans are typically consumed when they are immature and tender, older beans will become too fibrous for consumption. Many green bean varieties need to be stringed first to remove the long string that runs along the sides of the bean. There are some newer varieties of green beans though that have been breed for convenience to be string-less. The green bean plants are also known for their vibrant scarlet and white blooms which are edible as well and offer a fresh and light bean flavor.
English green beans are available in the summer and early fall months. With some availability year-round.
Green beans are most often served cooked unless picked when very young and immature at which point they can be utilized like snap beans. The beans are typically first stringed then cut into short lengths using a knife or bean slicer. The cut beans can be boiled, steamed, baked, sauteed and braised. Chopped beans can be added to quiche, curry, stews, sautes and casseroles. The flowers of the English Runner bean plant can be consumed as well and are popularly used as a garnish or added to salads. Their flavor pairs well with onion, leeks, potatoes, lemon, garlic, peaches, vinegar, butter, mustard, cumin, ginger, curry, nutmeg, tarragon, parmesan cheese, bacon, white fish and lamb. English Runner beans should be stored in the refrigerator and are best if used within two to three days.