Also known as string beans, the green bean family covers a wide range of varieties: common supermarket-variety green beans but also yellow wax beans, purple snap beans, French beans or haricots verts, Romano beans, dragon tongue beans, and many others. They vary widely in appearance but all of them are similar in taste and preparation. At their peak from May to October, their sweet, slightly astringent flavor is wonderful in all sorts of summer dishes. Snip the stem end off the beans; boil them in water, chill, and marinate them to be used in a salad, or throw them into the frying pan with some bacon fat and fry until crispy.
HOW TO BUY
Look for brightly colored, crisp beans that snap easily; avoid limp beans or those with blemishes or brown spots.
HOW TO STORE
Green beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week; store them in a paper bag or wrapped in a paper towel inside a perforated plastic bag.
HOW TO PREPARE
Wash the beans in cold water, pat dry, and snap off the stem end. Some varieties may have "strings" running down one side, which should be pulled off like a zipper before using.