Do you love green beans? I know I do. In today's episode, I continue my veggie spotlight series by focusing on green beans. I have my friend, Amy Katz from Veggies Saved the Day on to share her favorite green bean recipes. I will be sharing all of my favorite green bean facts in tips as well.
You can listen to this podcast episode below or listen on any of these podcast players - Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts. If you would prefer to read the text, you will find a transcript below.
Here is a transcript of the interview
Eric: All right, everybody. Today we are continuing on with our vegetable spotlight series. And once again, I am so happy to have my friend Amy from Veggies Save the Day on the podcast today. So welcome back, Amy.
Amy: Thanks, Eric. I'm happy to be here.
🛒 Shopping Tips
Eric: All right. So in this episode, we are covering green beans. Um, usually this time of year is, um, back when I had a garden at home, green beans were the thing that was just coming out everywhere, you'd have tons and tons of green beans. So it's a great time to talk about green beans. Um, pretty simple vegetables.
Sometimes we might take it for granted. So let's say I wanted to bring, um, some different tips and stuff to the beans and, find some other ways to make them more exciting and, and to prepare. Um, so first I want to talk about shopping for them.
And my number one tip is to look for this nice, bright green color, um, that's your, that's your like big sign of freshness.
Um, I think when they start getting older, they turn more of like an olive color and they get those kind of brown streaks in them. Then they're kind of like, no, that's not good. Um, so you don't want to buy those. And then I try to always look for them when you can buy them by the pounds and, you know, pick them out yourself as opposed to like plastic bags, which I've seen more of in recent years.
They'll send those like ones that are like already like snipped off in plastic bags. And I'm like, no, you know, you find like a more tendency to find those like little slimy beans and then they go and they're not supposed to be in plastic and plus like there's something else we don't need to like, you know, produce, you know, we could be fine with them.
Just, I think it was in the box, you know, as they come in, you know, at supermarkets. So I think it's just easier to, um, just to go with that. So another negative to the plastic bag things, but if you have to, you know, certain places like Aldi, for example, they don't do loose stuff as much as like some other places.
So like some of the things aren't plastic bags. So if you're in there and you still want green beans, like do a really good look over making sure you can see them all. There's not like some kind of like smooshed one in there in the middle. And still, I think that reduces their life anyway. And I would try to to do them within three days and then try to eat leftovers also within three days. I think that's kind of like the safe period.
Amy: Yeah, I agree with you. And especially like you said, if they're coming in the plastic bag, they're, you know, sometimes they don't have a very long shelf life because you don't know how long they've been in that plastic bag. So, but yeah, it's definitely harder to find them loose these days. I don't know why, but, um, yeah, if you can find them that way, it's definitely better to pick them out yourself.
Eric: And I think a lot of the, like the bagged ones, especially the French green beans, like the, like the thin Haricot Vert or French green beans. Like a lot of those are like grown in Guatemala. And so those are like, usually come in like bags. So like, I like them, like my wife really likes the thin beans.
Um, but usually you could only ever find them like in plastic bags. And often like you really have to like, see how fresh those are. Especially, you know, like a lot of those bag ones, like green beans, snow peas, snap peas, they're all like from Guatemala. Um, so that's obviously not, not in the US um, so, they've been shipped here.
🟡 Wax & Other Types of Beans
Um, so there's time in that. So that's something to look at too. Um, when it comes to that, next step I want to get to is talking about wax beans. So my oldest daughter. She loves wax beans. Um, what about you, Amy? Do you like wax beans?
Amy: You know, I do like them, but I don't get them very often.
Eric: Yeah. They're one of those things I think like it's, you don't find them much in the stores US um, farmer's market you see them, I think a lot, um, because you know, when you put, you put the wax beans on the farmer's market table next to green beans, you got some color contrast and it's like attracted to the eye.
So like, I think that's, um, yeah, yeah. My daughter really likes the wax beans, um, for whatever reason here, you know, there's a different flavor. I don't know, really, I never had a good way to describe how the flavor is different. It's, you know, there's a little bit difference to it. You know, it's, you know, it doesn't have that chlorophyll in it, that green beans do in that way.
So it's, I don't know. I can't really put my finger on it. I don't know. I don't know how you describe a favorite if it's not Amy?
Amy: Um, I don't know how I would describe the difference. It is subtle. Like you said.
RELATED - Read my post on What's the Difference Between Green & Wax Beans
Eric: Yeah, it definitely, you know, if I was tasting one and tasting the other, I might be able to say, Oh, that's a wax bean, but like, yeah, I can't really put my finger exactly on it. Um, but yeah, but my daughter just loves those ones. And, and it was nice that we, we grew them in our garden because, because since they're yellow and the plants leaves are green, it was a lot easier to say, Oh, there's no, there's a ripe one.
There's one that's ready to pick now, as opposed to like, when you're picking green beans, you're like, you know, is that, you know, got to make sure I'm not picking the stem of the plant and ruining it. Um, so I think it's, you know, that's why we like growing those. Um, purple beans too. You see at the farmer's market, you'll see purple ones, um, as well.
Those ones again are, um, turn green when you cook them, unfortunately. So you don't get to have that same purple color is if you, um, when you cut through them, you can, you can see that, that the purple is like, just, just like the top layer, like the very inside of it, but you could still see some kind of green showing.
So that's when I think usually when you're trying to tell, like, is this going to be a vegetable that is purple and it's going to stay purple or turn green, it's like, like asparagus. If you cut open purple asparagus, it looks. You can still see some green, um, on the inside before like the very middle of it.
So that's kind of like your, kind of thing to know if this is going to stay true to being purple. Um, yeah, cause we don't like the purple color. We'd love to have that, but like, it means it doesn't work like that. So it's kind of just one of those fun things for, you know, it looks pretty when in photos and stuff here, but.
Amy: It's fun if you grow those in your backyard, you know, it's fun to get the different colors.
Eric: Yeah. Oh, yeah. It's super pretty. And get all three of those going at once. It's really kind of fun. And I was speaking of, you know, as I said, if you want to really explore the world of beans, like, you know, the grocery store, most stores, you know, we said the case you can find wax in some grocery stores, most mainline stores don't sell them.
And you'll, you know, I think mainly you choose between just straight up regular green beans. And most places now carry the French beans. They've become popular enough for most places to have them. But either the farmer's market or look through a seed catalog, I mean, there's like so many different types of beans out there from like dry, all different dry bean colors.
I mean, that's one of my favorite things as a ,gardener was just growing all the different fun colors. Um, there's the one type called a dragon's tongue.
Amy: Oh, yeah, I grew that last year. Actually,
Eric: yeah. How'd you like those?
Amy: cool. Yeah, they were good. Um, unfortunately, I didn't get very many. It had a very small yield, but they were really cool looking.
Eric: Yeah, yeah. They're really cool. If you ever see them, they're like, they're like a yellow bean with like streaks of purple in it. And they're kind of, they're, they're larger, they're a larger bean. They're kind of like flat, but they're still tender enough. Um, if, you pick them at the right time, you're still, you know, tender.
And it's just, you know, kind of a cool, fun thing to, um, that I also liked Roma beans, which are another green bean. That's kind of like the same shape, kind of these kind of flat style beans that are very kind of like, you know, usually a lot to bite into. Um, but still like still pretty, pretty tender, um, for that size.
So those are something to look foward to. And also I always like to grow pole beans. So those are just beans that tend to climb and produce bean pods are just longer. And those seem just to have more flavor, but you don't really see them grown much for like commercially. Um, you know, cause they need support and it's probably easier just to have the little bush beans you know.
Actually, I've never seen a large commercial thing harvesting beans. I don't know if they have equipment for that, um, but maybe they do. Um, so there's something, um, to look for. So that's kind of a little background on beans and how fun they are here.
🔥 How to Cook Green Beans
But I want to get, get into talking about preparing them and, and I think, I don't know if you, agree with Amy here, but that, roasting them or air frying them is so underrated.
Amy: Oh, I totally agree. You know, it's funny you say that because I didn't start, um, using, you know, cooking them in my air fryer or in the oven until probably a couple of years ago. And I don't know why I waited so long to try it. So good and so easy.
Eric: Yeah, I don't know if people are worried , they're going to like burn or something. They're so, so small. They still think of like, oh, it's throwing a pot of water, but it's so much better. You know, it's, it's like eating like French fries or whatever, but like better,
Amy: Yeah. And I love them with garlic and you know, whatever seasoning you want. And yeah, it's really fast and easy.
Eric: it's super simple. It'd be even faster than, you know, if you're, if you're going to boil them, you're waiting for your water to boil. You know, there's just not really like time wise there's really probably as much difference as long as you get your oven heated up, especially if you have an air fryer where you don't, you know, throw them in the air fryer, not worried about preheating, preheating them for this.
Amy: Yeah, yeah,
Eric: it's super, super easy here.
Amy: Yeah I have a recipe for air fryer green beans on my website and I, um, you know, I do air fry them with some garlic, but then what I like to do at the end when they're done cooking is to squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon juice over them and it just adds a little, you know, pop of fresh flavor and it's really good.
Eric: Oh, that, that is such a, a good idea. Um, you live in California. , do you have a lemon tree at your place?
Amy: Yeah, I do. I do. We have a Meyer lemon tree.
Eric: Oh, even better.
Amy: Yeah, it's really nice to have, you know, fresh lemons whenever we need them. And they're super juicy. So if I have extra lemon juice, you know, then I can freeze it. So I always have it available. Um, so yeah, I just, you know, it adds a lot of flavor to so many dishes.
Eric: It does just a little bit kind of, you know, kind of pops down, brings things kind of all together. So
Eric: Yeah, it's like, I usually forget to grab one at the store. Occasionally, like we, I was, I was making some jam. Uh, we needed some lemon juice for an apricot jam we were making here. And then, um, I'm like, Oh, the zest is still there. Let's put, throw the zest into the strawberry jam.
Amy: Oh, yeah.
Eric: So, yeah, it's, yeah, it's really
Amy: Yeah, you
Eric: good to have on hand.
Amy: put some of the zest over the green beans too. That would be really good.
Eric: Yeah, that'd be really good. Yeah. Yeah. I never want to waste that. That's, you know, that's where like all the, like all those flavors and stuff there. And if you want a lemon flavor without like, you know, as much as with the acidity, you just use the zest.
Amy: Yeah, that's great.
Eric: Really, really easy to put on green beans. Even if you're going to like, you know, boil the green beans. Um, so it's not my favorite way to do it, but if you're still going to boil them here, like, you know, still throw the zest on there, you know, you could, you could add some flavor back by doing that. So that's always a good idea.
Amy: Yeah, I like to do like a quick, um, blanching of green beans and then use them in recipes. So, you know, by blanching them, I mean that, you know, I cook them in a little bit of, um, simmering water. Until just a couple minutes until they're bright green and then immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water and like with the ice cubes in it.
And so that quickly stops the cooking and it preserves that bright green color. And then I can use them in other recipes, like, for example, 1 of the most popular recipes on my website is for sautéed green beans with mushrooms. And so I, I start with the blanched green beans and then I sliced them on the diagonal and then I just sauté the mushrooms, um, with some garlic and add in the green beans and you can add fresh herbs in there and it's just really simple, but super fresh and flavorful.
Eric: Yeah. Yeah. That's a really good idea to do that too. You know, blanch before and then, then, you know, have something to throw in the pan once you're done cooking, the mushrooms, that's a really, really good idea. Um, well, before we wrap this thing up, Amy, you got any more great green bean recipes you want to share with us?
Amy: Yeah, another one of my favorites, um, maybe sounds a little unusual, but it's a green bean salad. So again, I blanche the green beans quickly and then, you know, chill them in the ice water.
And then, um, the salad is just really simple, I dry them off, pat them dry, you know, slice them up and then throw them in with some cherry tomatoes and then I make a quick, um, cilantro sauce. Um, so it's like a Mediterranean cilantro sauce that I make in the food processor like you would a pesto. And, um, so it's, you know, you can still see.
A little bit of the leaves in there and then I tossed that through with the green beans and cherry tomatoes and it's, it's just a really nice flavor and you know, if you like cilantro, of course, if you don't like cilantro, you can make something very similar using like your favorite pesto or you could even like, leave out the, the cherry tomatoes and make like a sun dried tomato.
Pesto would be really nice. Um, but yeah, and then it's just, you know, you serve it chilled. So it's. You know, and a more unusual way to serve green beans, but it's really great. You know, especially if you're having a potluck and you don't want to bring a hot dish. Um, it's great. And you know, it's, it's really popular too.
Eric: Yeah, that's a wonderful idea. And then kind of change up the salad, you know, regular salad routine, you know, to go with something like that is just a great udea. And, you know, adding tomatoes, of course, this time of year would be a great idea. Cause you know, when you have fresh tomatoes, the season to go with that here, you got a great, great thing, um, working for you.
🔎 Find Amy
Eric: Alright. Amy, thank you for sharing your great recipes with us here. Uh, where can people go to find these recipes?
Amy: Yeah, so you can visit my website veggiesavethoday.com and I share, um, plant based recipes that are based on a Mediterranean diet. So even if you're not vegan or vegetarian, you can still check out the recipes to incorporate more vegetable centric dishes into your lifestyle.
Eric: OK, Amy, thank you for joining us today.
Amy: Thanks for having me, Eric. It's been a pleasure talking to you.
🎧 Listen to All Episodes In Series
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Here are the links to Amy's recipe using green beans.