Do Green Beans Go Bad? How to Keep Them Fresh Longer

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I’m sure many of us grew up digging into a delicious green bean side, whether that’s for a weeknight meal or a celebration like Thanksgiving. 

We certainly didn’t appreciate this great vegetable as kids, as many kids didn’t, but now we have grown to love their signature fresh taste and satisfying crunch.

Green beans are delicious in casseroles, sauteed or steamed as a side, or blanched in a salad. They are so versatile you could fit them into so many different meals. 

If that wasn’t reason enough to add these to your fridge, they are also incredibly good for you. Green beans are the best of both worlds.

Ok, enough of singing their praises; let’s get to the question we are addressing today: Do green beans go bad?

The short answer is yes. While they might last quite well in the fridge, green beans will eventually go off.

When green beans have gone bad will taste unpleasant and have a really horrible mouth feel.

Even though they won’t make you sick, it’s essential to know when they are past their best for the sake of your taste buds!

Today we’re going to examine how to tell when your green beans have gone off and how to store them to avoid this happening to you.

Let’s get into it.

How Do I Know If My Green Beans Have Gone Bad?

We’ve all had the pleasure of biting into a crisp, fresh green bean but let’s have a quick refresher to see how a fresh green bean should appear and taste.

  • Firm and plump
  • Velvety texture
  • Snaps easily
  • Bright green color

So, in the opposite direction, a bad green bean will be:

  • Shriveled and dry surface texture
  • Dry and limp
  • Brown spots
  • Rubbery and tough

That doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? No, we don’t think so either!

Bad green beans will not only taste bad, but they’ll have horrible texture too. The only place for them is the compost heap.

Now that you know how to tell if your green beans are off, we can take a look at how to store green beans properly so you won’t have to deal with that mess again.  

How Can I Store My Green Beans To Keep Them Fresh For Longer?

We don’t know about you, but we absolutely hate food waste, especially spoiled fresh produce; that’s why it’s important to learn how to store your veggies for optimum freshness.

As with most fresh vegetables, green beans don’t have the longest shelf life, but you can do a few things when storing them to help keep them fresher for longer. (*)

  • Don’t wash. Like with most vegetables, washing green beans before storing them will add excess moisture, making them go off faster. We recommend only washing your green beans just before you cook them.
  • Remove from packaging. Again, this can bring in excess moisture as well as sometimes carry spores that can make your beans go moldy.
  • Pat dry. This will get rid of any moisture left from the packaging.
  • Store in an airtight container. This will keep them from drying out in the fridge and going off prematurely.
  • Buy in season. Honestly, they just taste better in season, and they last longer too! Green beans are a summer vegetable, so make sure you take advantage of them during that season.
  • Use the crisper drawer. These drawers are designed to keep veggies fresh by limiting moisture, making them the perfect place to keep your green beans.

Can You Freeze Green Beans? 

Yes, you can! Let’s say you’ve bought a package of green beans, and you haven’t managed to get through the whole bag. If you want to avoid wasting food (and your money), the best solution is to freeze them.

As with most vegetables, we think they freeze much better when blanched first because it preserves their freshness and crunchy texture. Freezing fresh vegetables can make them wilt and become mushy when defrosted so cooking them first is a must.

Luckily the blanching and freezing process is very quick and easy. Let’s take a look at what it involves:

  1. Start by topping and tailing all your green beans and removing any excess fibers along the seam. Save the ends to throw on the compost heap to save even more waste.
  1. Cut them into one to two-inch pieces. This will ensure even cooking and save you prep work when you defrost them.
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the green beans in batches. 
  1. Blanch for 2 minutes for thinner pieces and 3 minutes for the thicker ones. Once they’ve finished blanching you can plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process.
  1. Drain well and pat dry.
  1. Place in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 12 months.

See, nothing too complicated. This way, you will always have green beans on hand, and none of them will end up in the garbage. It just takes a little extra prep work ahead of time.

Freezing your vegetables at home rather than buying them pre-frozen is also the healthier option since you will avoid all the additives and preservatives present in processed vegetables. 

How Long Will My Green Beans Last in the Fridge?

If they are properly stored, we have found that green beans can last up to 3-5 days in the fridge. That’s a pretty impressive shelf life for fresh produce, in our opinion! (*)

If you follow all our storage tips, you shouldn’t ever have to deal with your green beans going off again.

Interesting Facts:

What are the health benefits of eating green beans?

  • Green vegetables are well known for being a significant source of vitamins and minerals, and green beans are no exception.
  • Apart from being delicious, green beans are really healthy for a number of reasons: [*]
  • Low in calories. Green beans are the perfect side to fill up on without worrying about the calories if you are on a diet.
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals. They containvitamin C, K, A, flavonols, quercetin, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus.
  • Improves heart health by lowering bad cholesterol.
  • Improves gut health because it’s full of healthy fiber. However, eating too much of them might aggravate those with IBS or other digestive issues.
  • Good for anemia because it’s so high in iron. This is also a good source of iron for vegans and vegetarians.
  • Helps improve bone health due to the high concentration of vitamin K.

How do I cook my green beans without losing all the nutrients?

Although we often see green beans getting boiled, this is not the optimum way to cook them, in our opinion. It leaches all the nutrients into the water and ends up being watery and overly soft.
We think the healthiest way to cook green beans is to steam them. This retains its fresh flavor and crisp texture while keeping all the nutrients in.
You can steam them in a standalone steamer or a steamer basket. The green beans will only need about 5 minutes to steam before they’re ready for seasoning and serving. 
They also preserve their nutrients well when added to a casserole or stir fry so don’t be shy to add them in for an extra boost of goodness.

Is it true that raw green beans can be toxic?

This might come as a shock to some of you, as it did to us when we first found out, but raw green beans can be toxic when eaten in large quantities.
Raw green beans contain antinutrients that are not digestible. If you eat too many this can cause nausea, vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea.
These symptoms may be triggered more intensely if you have a digestive problem like IBS so we recommend that those of you only eat cooked green beans in small quantities.
We recommend that you eat raw green beans in minimal quantities or give them a quick blanch before eating just to be on the safe side.

Conclusion

I bet you didn’t know there was so much to learn about green beans? This humble vegetable offers so much, and we think they are drastically underrated.

So here are a few key points to keep in mind when buying green beans:

  • They do go bad
  • If properly stored then can last up to 5 days in the fridge
  • Freezing is always an option
  • They are a quick source of many vitamins and minerals.

At the end of the day, preventing your fresh produce from going off before you use it will save you money and time having to drive to the shops for a replacement. We think it’s worth taking a few extra steps for that.

We hope this has inspired you to change up your vegetable storage and stock it up with some fresh green beans this summer.

Up Next: The Best Shelf life of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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