The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat green beans. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What green beans etiquette is

Green beans etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat green beans. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve green beans to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat green beans at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat green beans

What you should know about green beans

Green beans are a type of vegetable that comes from the Phaseolus vulgaris plant, which is part of the legume family. They are also known as string beans or snap beans.

Green beans are typically long and slender with a smooth, bright green skin. They have a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet, earthy flavor.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat green beans

1) How to store green beans

The ideal temperature to store green beans is between 40°F and 45°F (4°C and 6°C). In the pantry, you should store them in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to 5 days. In the fridge, store them in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer for up to 1 week. To freeze green beans, blanch them first, then store them in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 8 months.

Store sliced or cooked green beans in the fridge for up to four days in an airtight container.

2) How to clean green beans

To clean green beans, rinse them in cold water and remove the stem ends. There are no major risks associated with cleaning green beans.

Signs that green beans have turned bad include a slimy texture, discoloration, or a foul odor.

3) How to prepare & cook green beans

Green beans can be eaten raw or cooked. Common ways to cook them include steaming, boiling, roasting, or stir-frying. You can also add them to soups and stews.

Popular dishes that include green beans are green bean casserole, niçoise salad, and Szechuan-style green beans.

Green beans can be a good addition to salads and sandwiches. They are not typically used to make juice, smoothies, jam, or preserves.

4) How to serve & present green beans

Green beans are appropriate for a variety of occasions, from formal dinners to casual lunches. You can serve them as a side dish, main course, or appetizer.

Green beans should be served hot or warm. They can be presented on a plate or in a bowl, and no specific serving tools are necessary.

Green beans can be accompanied by a variety of seasonings, including garlic, lemon, and herbs like thyme and rosemary. They pair well with grains like rice and quinoa.

5) Food and wine to pair green beans with

Green beans pair well with flavors like citrus, ginger, and soy sauce. They also go well with vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. Fruits that pair well with green beans include apples and pears. It’s best to avoid pairing them with fruits that are very sweet or acidic.

Green beans can pair well with some types of cheese, such as feta or goat cheese. Dairy pairings can include yogurt or sour cream. It is best to avoid pairing green beans with very strong or pungent cheeses.

Green beans can go well with a variety of meats, including chicken, beef, and pork. They also go well with fish, especially white fish like cod or tilapia. It is best to avoid pairing them with heavily spiced or flavored meats.

Green beans pair well with a variety of wines, including light-bodied reds like Pinot Noir and medium-bodied whites like Chardonnay. It is best to avoid pairing them with very heavy or tannic wines. Sparkling wine can also be a good pairing, especially with green bean salads.

6) How to eat green beans

The polite way to eat green beans is with a fork or chopsticks. It is not polite to eat them with your fingers. You can eat the whole green bean, including the peel.

Green beans etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common green beans etiquette mistakes:

  • 6/10. Eating green beans with your fingers.

Additional information for properly serving green beans

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly planning a menu.

Green beans are low in calories, with approximately 31 calories per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) and about 4 calories per single green bean.

How to buy the best green beans

A crucial factor in green beans etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Green beans are available year-round, but their peak season in the United States is from May to October.

Choose the best

Green beans can be found fresh, canned, frozen, and dried in most grocery stores and supermarkets.

The most popular varieties of green beans in commerce include Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder, and Haricot Verts. Haricot Verts, also known as French Green Beans, are considered to be the most prized variety due to their tender texture and sweet flavor.

When buying green beans, look for beans that are firm, bright green, and free from blemishes, brown spots, or signs of decay. You can also check for freshness by snapping one in half – if it breaks with a crisp snap, it is fresh.

Alternatives to green beans

Common alternatives to green beans include snow peas, sugar snap peas, asparagus, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.