What Is the Difference Between String and Green Beans?

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It’s no secret that the world of beans is vast. The list of dried beans, runner beans, black beans, wax beans, and French beans is endless!

Even when shopping for the most basic of beans, green beans, things seem to get convoluted. Fresh string beans may appear on the produce bin sign, while frozen green beans appear on the package in the freezer aisle. What gives? They all look the same!

Let me let you in on a little secret. There is no distinction between string and green beans! At least not any more.

Continue reading to understand how green beans got the term string beans, then discover all of the many varieties of green beans, how to prepare them, and much more!

Difference Between String Beans and Green Beans

String Beans vs. Green Beans: What’s the Difference?

When you go to the grocery store, you’ll notice that most items use the term “green beans” rather than “string beans.” The term “string beans” is not wholly outdated; but, the rationale behind the name has long since passed!

In reality, most bean pods used to have a fibrous thread running along their seam, giving them the nickname “string beans.” Anyone who has eaten or cooked with snow peas or sugar snap peas knows how unpleasant these threads are to taste and how difficult they are to remove. As the agricultural years passed, green beans were bred to be stringless, and most types of green beans available today are stringless. A moniker is difficult to get rid of, and although green beans have shed their strings, the term string beans remains attached to them.

All About Green Beans!

String Beans vs. Green Beans: What’s the Difference?

Many edible beans are members of the Phaseolus vulgaris family of legumes, popularly known as the common bean. This category covers many of the beans we eat and enjoy, such as green beans and string beans! Beans, unsurprisingly, are related to other major agricultural legumes such as soybeans, peas, and peanuts.

In terms of culinary applications, common beans are split into three groups, each of which indicates the stage of development at which they are harvested and consumed:

Snap Beans

Snap beans are beans that are consumed in their whole, pod and all. These fragile pods are the unripe fruit of the bean plant and are known as green snap beans due to the distinctive cracking sound they produce when split in half.Green beans and string beans are classified as snap beans since the whole pod is devoured.

Shelling Beans

Green beans get bigger and starchier when they mature and their seeds develop. The pod is now inedible, but the seeds within (also known as beans, confusingly enough) are soft and wonderful! When eaten fresh, they are referred to as shelling beans. Borlotti beans (sometimes known as cranberry beans) and rattlesnake beans are two varieties of shelling beans.

Dried Beans

If the green beans grow beyond the shelling bean stage, the seeds will ultimately dry up entirely and may be picked for use as dried beans. There are various varieties of beans in the common bean family that are best suited for drying, including cannellini beans and black turtle beans, to mention a few.

Green Beans: Bush Beans vs. Pole Beans

Although there are several types of green beans and string beans, the plants themselves are divided into two categories:

Bush Beans

Bush beans, as the name suggests, are bean plants that grow in the shape of a bush. They stay low to the earth, only growing to be around 2 feet tall, and their breadth is also restricted. These green beans develop fruit early and mature quicker than pole bean cultivars, but their entire production window is shorter. The majority of fresh and whole beans consumed are of the bush bean kind.

Pole Beans

Pole beans, on the other hand, are the bean world’s sprawlers. These green beans, also known as vine beans, runner beans, or climbing beans, may grow up to 8 feet tall! Pole beans need the assistance of an external structure on which the tendrils may climb in order to achieve their full potential, such as a trellis, fence, or even the stalk of another plant. Most pole beans are allowed to develop before being harvested because they are best suited for shelling or drying. Although others yield pods that are delicious as green beans when plucked early, such as asparagus beans, which we will discuss in a moment!

Some Other Types of Snap Beans

Snap beans are not limited to string beans or green beans (whatever you choose to name them!). There are many different types of beans that are eaten as a complete pod, and they come in a variety of sizes and even colors!

Haricots Verts

This species of bush bean, often known as French green beans or French beans, is longer, skinnier, and more delicate than conventional green beans. Haricots verts have a very soft texture that makes them simple to prepare and fast to cook. Green Bean Almondine, a traditional French meal in which juicy haricots verts are sautéed with butter, sliced almonds, and aromatics, is possibly the most well-known use of French green beans.

Wax Beans

Not all green beans are the same color! But they can’t be called green beans if they’re not green, can they? This is when the phrase “wax beans” enters the picture. Bush beans, in addition to the conventional green, are included in this snap bean group. Yellow wax beans, as well as purple beans, are regularly observed! The yellow beans will stay yellow after boiling, while the purple beans will turn green as they simmer.

Romano Beans

Romano beans are a variety of Italian flat bean that should not be confused with fava beans, often known as Italian wide beans. These beans are available in bush and pole types and have long, flat pods with a meaty texture. Because of their size and composition, Romano beans can withstand extensive cooking techniques like stewing and braising, which would ordinarily destroy the texture of traditional green beans.

Asparagus Beans

While most green beans are members of the Phaseolus vulgaris family, there are a few outliers! While asparagus beans are more closely related to peas, they are cooked and eaten more like green beans and hence deserve to be included here. Asparagus beans, often known as yardlong beans, are pole beans that can grow to incredible lengths of up to 1.5 feet! Asparagus beans may be cooked in the same manner that traditional green beans are.

Tips for Cooking Green Beans

When it comes to preparing green beans, how do you do it?

Green beans may be cooked in a variety of ways, and we’ll go through a couple of the more common here. Cooking times can vary based on the variety of green beans you use. For example, thick wax beans will take longer to cook than thin haricots verts.

How to Trim Green Beans

The first step in cooking fresh green beans is always a fast trim. To trim green beans, arrange them on a cutting board and snip off only the stem end. This is the stiff and fibrous area where the bean used to be linked to the remainder of the green bean plant. You may leave the pointed tip on the other end since it is entirely edible and also looks good!

You may, however, shorten the procedure by trimming the ends on both sides. Hey, speed is sometimes the name of the game!

Cooking Methods for Green Beans

Following that, you have a few options. Do you like the convenience of cooked green beans? Or the tender-crisp pods that can only be obtained after a luxurious steam bath? Maybe you like the toasted, rich flavor of olive oil roasted green beans.

You have a choice! Green beans are genuine chameleons that flourish in almost every cooking technique, making them ideal for soups, stews, braises, pot pies, warm vegetable salads, and even dried in snack mixes!

How to Keep Green Beans Green!

We’ve all had the sensation of cooking a bright green vegetable and watched the color disappear, only to be replaced with a drab green or brown. Blanching your beans will save you from this destiny! All you need is a basin of cold water to plunge your cooked beans in afterward to stop the cooking process and retain the color.

It should be noted that blanching green beans is only recommended when wet cooking techniques such as boiling or steaming are used. Blanching roasted or sautéed green beans will merely remove all of their hard-won taste!

Can You Eat Green Beans Raw?

Snap beans are not need to be cooked since they are wonderful when eaten raw. The main disadvantage of eating raw green beans is that some individuals have stomach issues as a result of the presence of a chemical known as lectin.

This chemical is present in all legumes, although it is significantly more abundant in mature and dried beans such as black beans and kidney beans. This is why these beans must be soaked and cooked before they can be consumed. Because of the immature seeds, the quantity of lectin in green beans is quite low, making it unlikely to create any problems for all of you raw vegetable lovers out there!

String Beans vs. Green Beans: There is No Difference!

In the end, string beans and green beans are the same thing! Green beans used to have a stringy skin, but this disagreeable trait was bred away many years ago. The string beans that we know today kept their name but not their strings.

However, the perplexity does not end there. The name “green bean” may apply to a variety of bush or pole beans, some of which are not even in the same family!

While learning about the many types of green beans is entertaining and educational, it is not required in order to appreciate these goofy little fruits. When you come across the catch-all word green bean, you can trust that the whole crunchy pod is edible and will be packed with a pleasantly sweet, grassy taste.


Are string beans and green beans the same?

String beans, snap beans, green beans… no matter which name you prefer, they are one and the same and in season! Green snap beans are classified as bush or pole beans depending on their growth characteristics.

Do string beans taste like green beans?

String beans, snap beans, green beans… Whatever name you pick, they are all the same and in season! Green snap beans are classified as bush or pole beans depending on their growth characteristics.

Why do they call them string beans?

Green beans are often consumed fresh or nearly so, rather than dried. String beans are so-called because a fibrous string runs down the seam of the bean.

Why do some green beans have strings?

Some beans are known as string beans because they contain a string that is generally removed before boiling to prevent the beans from becoming too fibrous to eat. All beans are at their best when gathered fresh, with soft young pods. One reason beans are fibrous, rough, and stringy is because they are harvested after their peak.

Can I use green beans instead of string beans?

Green beans and string beans are interchangeable, however the phrase “string” is mostly obsolete. Green beans, like snap peas, used to have distinctive fibrous “strings” running down the length of the pod that had to be removed bean by bean.

When did string beans become green beans?

Green beans were previously known as string beans because of the long fibrous thread that ran along the pod seams. Calvin Keeney, recognized as the “Father of the Stringless Bean,” invented the first stringless green bean in 1894.

What type of green beans are best to eat?

Haricots Verts, often known as French Green Beans or Filet Beans

These tender green beans are quite thin. They are typically green, although yellow versions are sometimes available. Haricots Verts are often regarded as the finest green beans, and their prices reflect this.

Can you eat any bean as a green bean?

Almost all beans are edible as dried beans, however many are not edible as green beans. That means if you forget to harvest your green beans and have a lot of overripe pods, you may shell them and utilize them that way.

What is the most tender green bean?

Cupidon Those who have cultivated the French filet Cupidon would tell you that it is their favorite snap bean. It’s a highly prolific plant producing 6- to 8-inch-long stringless pods that are flavorful and soft.

What is another name for string beans?

Green beans are also known as French beans (French: haricot vert), string beans (although most current cultivars are “stringless”), snap beans, or simply “snaps.” To differentiate them from yardlong beans, they are also known as “Baguio beans” or “habichuelas” in the Philippines.

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