Here’s how to extend the life of these popular green veggies.

By Isadora Baum
December 11, 2018
Caitlin Bensel

There’s a reason green beans are found on almost every holiday table—they’re high in essential nutrients, super versatile, and taste great inside a casserole or as a sautéed veggie dish alongside meat or fish. Yet they can spoil pretty quickly if they aren’t properly stored and cared for.

Luckily, as long as you take the right measures to keep green beans fresh, you’ll be able to savor their flavors and make the most of your purchase without spoilage. Here’s what to know about extending the shelf life of this year-round, popular green vegetable.

How to Store Green Beans Properly in the Fridge

First off, don’t mess up at the grocery store and choose green beans that are close to rotting. “Purchase beans that have a smooth feel and a vibrant green color, and that are free from brown spots or bruises. They should have a firm texture and ‘snap’ when broken,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, nutrition expert and Wall Street Journal best-selling cookbook author.

Then, once you’ve brought them home, get them in the fridge. “Store unwashed fresh bean pods in a plastic bag kept in the refrigerator crisper. Whole beans stored this way should keep for about seven days,” she says.

If you plan to use them in an upcoming meal, wash them under running water. Remove both ends of the beans by either snapping them off or cutting them with a knife. If you end up having leftovers, you can put the green bean dish back in the fridge, but you’ll only be able to eat it for another 3-4 days, she says.

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How to Freeze Green Beans

While you can keep green beans fresher through fridge storage, you can’t beat the life extension of a freezer. Storing them in the freezer can help get the most out of your green beans, especially if you couldn't help yourself and bought too many on your trip to the farmers market, she says.

“You can cook the green beans, such as blanch in boiling water for several minutes, and then allow them to cool. Then place in a resealable plastic freezer bag for up to 8 to 10 months,” she explains.

When to Toss Green Beans

Sometimes despite your best efforts, there’s nothing you can do to save those precious green beans. “Brown spots, and bean seed shapes that are coming out of the shell means that they are starting to get old,” says Amidor. That means, use them ASAP or be prepared to toss them in a day or so. And if the beans are already slimy and wet, they’re no longer safe to eat.

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