In the kitchen
Store in the bottom of your fridge, in the bag we deliver them in. They should keep for a week. When fresh, they’ll snap cleanly in half.
Prep & Cooking tips
French beans need topping, but not usually tailing. You can do this simply by snapping the tops off with your fingers, or by lining them up in a neat row and using a knife. You can keep them whole for many recipes. If you need to slice them, they look prettier if you do it at an angle.
You can use them raw as a crudité or finely sliced in a salad. To cook quickly, drop them whole into plenty of boiling water for 4-6 mins, depending on how much of a bite and a squeak you like. Drain and plunge into cold water to keep them firm and vibrantly coloured. Finely sliced, they wouldn’t be out of place in a stir-fry or sautéed on their own with a little butter and garlic. They’ll survive a long slow braise in a tomato sauce; less verdant but meltingly tender.
Video: How to Cook French Beans
In the main beans are better cooked, if only briefly. However, raw French beans can add crunch to a salad. Whole ones can join a crudité selection for dunking into aioli, hollandaise or bagna cauda.
2. Dressed up
They work well lightly steamed or boiled and thrown through a simple dressing. A little butter, black pepper and lemon is a common starting point, made all the more compelling if you lightly brown the butter first. Enrobed in a vinaigrette, made heady with plenty of mustard, capers and chopped green herbs, they’d make a splendid salad with some boiled potatoes, crispy bacon and chopped egg in tow. They’ll happily shoulder a simple Japanese dressing of miso thinned with a little soy, rice wine and sesame seeds, or maybe a bolder Thai affair awash with lime, fish sauce, chilli and ginger.
3. Green bean ragu
Green beans don’t always have to be bright and squeaky, they are more than happy to be given a little extra time and heat. There are plenty of recipes from the Mediterranean that deal a green bean glut in this way. What you lose in colour and bite you make up for with a melt-in the-mouth tenderness. Gently cook them in a rich tomato sauce for the best part of an hour, add a dash of water or stock if they look like drying out. Try this recipe for Ragú of green beans with tomatoes, olives and farinata
Goes well with
Alliums (Garlic, Onion, Shallot)
Acid (Lemon, Vinegar)
Asian flavourings (Chilli, Ginger, Sesame, Soy)
Honey or sugar
Nuts Salty things (Anchovies, Capers, Feta, Olives, Parmesan)
French beans recipes
Salad of French beans and grilled leeks with tapenade
Serves: 5 Total time: 20 min
Green bean and potato salad with eggs, green herbs and olives
Serves: 2 Total time: 40 min
Asian raw green bean salad
Serves: 2 Total time: 15 min
Green beans with pancetta and sage
Serves: 6 Total time: 20 min
Chicken, sorrel and potato stew
Serves: 2 Total time: 35 min
Teriyaki pork and braised radishes with star anise rice
Serves: 2 Total time: 40 min
In the field
Meet the grower: Antony & Mary Coker, Rattery, Devon
The Cokers run Home Park Farm where Antony and Mary farm organic vegetables and sheep in a traditional mixed system.