When you are ready to cook your beans, rinse them in cool or lukewarm water. Snap off or cut off the tips, and then cut the beans to the desired length for your recipe. Most green bean varieties no longer have a string down the length of the pod, but if you encounter a string, simply pull down the length of the pod and discard.
To get through a large amount of green beans at one time, line them up in a row, using your hand or a knife to guide them, then using a chef’s knife or paring knife, remove the top tips in one quick chop, then repeat on the other side if you’d like. (The stem end is the main side that needs to be removed.) If you want to cook a large amount of green beans more quickly, cut each bean in half lengthwise. This is also a good method for rehabbing the green beans that are no longer looking their best. For the crisper, freshest tasting beans leave them whole after removing the tip ends.
Green beans are great stir-fried, steamed, sautéed, or boiled. You can also eat them raw in salads or with a vegetable platter and hummus. Whichever method you prefer, they are best if cooked to a tender-crisp. Squeaky beans can be avoided by a longer cooking time to soften them more, but this will be up to your personal preference. The longer they cook, the less squeak you’ll encounter.
If you boil your beans, use as little water as possible, and afterward, you can use the bean water to cook rice. If you want to freeze the beans for later use, blanch them for three minutes in boiling water and then immediately remove and cool in an ice bath.
Cooked beans pair well with butter, lemon butter, sautéed onions or mushrooms, toasted almonds, pine nuts, herbs, wine-based sauces, Parmesan cheese, or ham or bacon.
Steamed beans taste great with a gingery sauce. In doling out servings of beans per plate, a handful per person is a good measurement to use when deciding how many to cook. Store unwashed green beans in the refrigerator, covered loosely with a plastic bag, for about a week.