How to trim and snap green beans?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “how to trim and snap green beans?”, how to blanch green beans, and other queries related to this topic.

How to trim and snap green beans? 

Here are a few steps to follow to trim and snap your green beans:

  • Wash your beans under cold water in a colander and get rid of any dirt or moldy, spotted, or very shriveled beans.
  • Grab a handful of beans, about 15 to 20 beans and place them on the cutting board. Since you’ll be cutting off both ends, they can be facing different ways.
  • Line up all the ends against your knife edge and make sure all the ends of the beans are touching the edge of the knife and then cut off the ends.
  • Flip your beans the other way, push them towards your knife blade, and cut off the other ends.
  • Cut your beans into bite-size pieces. This step is optional; it depends on your recipe. Some require long beans and other small bean pieces.

Do you need to trim green beans?

Yes, you need to trim your green beans before cooking or using them, no matter what color or variety of green beans you are using. Make sure you trim your beans just before you will be using them, as the trimmed ends will quickly dry out and shrivel up. 

What are green beans?

Green beans are the young, unripe form of the common bean. They grow in two ways either as “bush” low to the ground or “pole” beans with vines running up poles and have many different names, including string beans, French beans, snap beans, and haricots verts in French.

Since they are in their immature state, the beans inside the green bean pods are small and underdeveloped.

There are different ways to serve green beans. They can be served raw or cooked however, preparing them for recipes doesn’t require a lot of work.

Which one is better: fresh, frozen, or canned beans?

It is best to use and purchase green beans during their peak growing season, which means in summer or early fall. During their peak growing season, green beans will be very nutritious, and full of nutrients and once you pick them from the market their quality degrades very quickly and they become limp and wrinkled, losing their sweetness and moisture.

However, refrigeration does not solve this problem, and in some ways, cold temperatures damage the product making the situation worse.

Make sure to buy fresh beans if you have access to a green market, where beans are unrefrigerated and come directly from a farm. Fresh green beans will have a better flavor if used in your recipe.

Moreover, if you do not have access to fresh beans, frozen ones are the best substitute. Both fresh and frozen green beans are better than canned green beans. 

Can you buy pre-cut green beans?

Yes, you can buy pre-cut green beans but it is preferred not to do it. Because as mentioned previously, refrigeration can damage your beans hence cutting the edges make the situation worse.

When you buy a bag of trimmed green beans, you will notice that the trimmed ends look discolored and dried out, and you will end up having to trim them again. In this case, you will be paying more money for beans that are in bad shape, and you have to perform the same task that you were trying to avoid. 

How to blanch green beans?

Blanching, or briefly boiling, green beans is one of the most used ways to cook them. Blanched green beans can be chilled and used in salads, or in sauté.

To blanch your green beans you need to let the water in the pot boil, then put some salt in it and make sure that the water is saturated in salt and tastes like the ocean.

After that, add your beans and continue to boil. The time of cooking depends on the size of the beans, the smaller your beans the less time they need to be cooked. However, the average time is 2 to 5 minutes.

To test doneness, take a bite of a green bean. The doneness of your beans depends on the recipe so for example if you are willing to add your beans to the sauté do not overcook them. 

Serve them immediately or transfer them to a bowl filled with ice water to stop them from overcooking.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “how to trim and snap green beans?”, how to blanch green beans and other queries related to this topic.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.