Green beans are the unripe, young fruit and protective pods of various cultivars of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). 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. Green beans are known by many common names, including French beans, string beans, snap beans, and snaps.
They are distinguished from the many differing varieties of beans in that green beans are harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods, typically before the seeds inside have fully matured. This practice is analogous to the harvesting of unripened pea pods as snow peas or sugar snap peas. In the past, bean pods often contained a “string”, a hard fibrous strand running the length of the pod. This was removed before cooking, or made edible by
cutting the pod into short segments. Modern, commercially grown green bean varieties lack strings.
Green beans are eaten around the world, and are marketed canned, frozen, and fresh. Green beans are often steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles. A dish with green beans popular throughout the United States, particularly at Thanksgiving, is green bean casserole, which consists of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and French fried onions. Some US restaurants serve green beans that are battered and fried, and some Japanese restaurants serve green bean tempura. Green beans are also sold dried, and fried with vegetables such as carrots, corn, and peas, as vegetable chips. The flavonol miquelianin (Quercetin 3-O-glucuronide) can be found in green beans.