Snap beans, also called green beans, are one of those must-have vegetables in the garden. They’re easy to grow, are bothered by few pests, and if you choose a pole type, they take up hardly any square footage in the landscape. Or get creative and grow pole beans on fences or any other upright support. Beans come many colors, shapes, and sizes. Pods may be green, yellow, purple, or speckled. The plants range in size from 2 feet tall for bush types to pole types that may climb to 12 feet. A bean harvested when young, before the seeds fully develop, is called a snap bean. Once the seeds have reached full size, but pods have not turned brown, it’s called a shelling bean. After the pod dries and seeds mature, it’s called a dried bean.
Harvest most snap beans when pods are 6-8 inches long, before pods and seeds reach full size, 45-55 days after planting. Specialty bush beans called filet beans should be harvested when pods are only 1/4-inch in diameter. Harvest shelling beans once seeds have reached full size, about 80 days after planting. Dried beans take approximately 100-120 days to reach maturity. Because dried pods may split open and drop beans to the ground, place a large pan or bucket under the plants when harvesting dried beans.
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 restaurants in the USA serve green beans that are battered and fried, and Japanese restaurants in the United States frequently serve green bean tempura. Green beans are also sold dried and fried with vegetables such as carrots, corn, and peas.