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Old 11-04-2007, 05:38 AM   #1
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Green beans

I love green beans. More specifically any style of canned Del Monte, but the past couple of years I've been buying fresh out of the bin or at roadside stands and cooking those. They have to be better for you than canned I figured. They come out just ok. Very edible, but nothing to rave about for as much as I like green beans and other fresh, green vegetables.
This past week I noticed some prepackaged green beans..... triple washed, trimmed, and darker looking than the typical fresh beans I've boughten in the past. Not organic or anything, but they sure looked like a higher quality bean. I bought 'em.
I cooked some last night and can't believe how good they were, and how good they looked, too. Nice and dark and shiny, just like in pictures I've seen.

So, is their really a difference? Does anyone know why these prepackaged ones would be so much better than other fresh green beans? For just a little more per lb than the ones in the bin (this time of year anyway), I just can't believe there's that much of a difference in the quality, but I'm in love with a "new" food
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:09 AM   #2
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Don't know the situation your way but it may just be that the roadside stands are just selling their surplus which may be of an inferior quality. (Not sure what you mean by "out of the bin". To me, that says it is from rubbish bin, which I assume is not your intention!) Also consider where the beans are grown and the type of bean. Over here most of our best quality produce (in general) is used for the export market, not domestic. We pay top dollar for good produce and the only real way to save money and not scrimp on vast difference in quality is to go direct to the grower. But even that is no guarantee.
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:00 AM   #3
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In addition to what Billby said, it might also just be a case of what you are used to. Canned and fresh green beans taste very different IMO. If you have been eating the canned your whole life and enjoying them then maybe you are just not familiar with the fresh taste.
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:00 AM   #4
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By out of the bin I meant it sits there loose for the consumer to pick out what they want... as opposed to selling it already packaged. Most of our vegetables and fruits over here are sold that way... you can buy one potato, or a bag of them, one tomoato, or a package of them, and of course, a handfull of green beans, or a package of them as I did.
You are right. Going directly too the source/grower is no guarantee. I had thought that by buying them directly from a farmer's roadside stand I would get a better bean, you sure get better corn on the cob... and I've even had people with gardens bring me green beans, but there's just no comparison to these ones I just bought. It almost seems like a fluke. Maybe they are a "higher end" bean, but I didn't know there were different grades of green beans
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:10 AM   #5
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Different grades of everything. Do you know that in Perth we make an icecream (or used to at any rate) that was so creamy and fresh.. and we couldn't buy it in Perth in that format. Move to Japan and we could. The one they sold us in Perth was much less "special". I worked for the transport firm that shipped them out and got to try the export version and it turned me off of the domestic version for several years, it was soo good.

Also some of the contracts the big shops have direct with the suppliers also demand a certain level of quality, and because they have the contract, the supplier bends over backwards to meet that standard, sometimes eating into his bottom line. The little producers on the other hand don't have the guaranteed income and so can't afford to compete with the same level of investment in the product. Doesn't always mean that their product is of a poor quality but that the market place has moved and they can't compete, or at least not as successfully.

Just some other thoughts.
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:38 AM   #6
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Yeah... it has to be that they are a different grade. I guess just like restaurants supposedly get a higher quality steak than we can buy, unless maybe we buy from one of those steak houses. I didn't realize it carried into something as plain as green beans, but I'm glad I found out! I remembered that they did have a lot more liquid in them. After I dumped out the water and added the olive oil and butter to them, the pot filled right up again with liquid. Almost as if I never dumped the cooking water out.
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:58 PM   #7
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There are different varieties of green beans - some are pole beans, some are bush beans, some are hybrids and some are heirlooms varieties. Of course growing conditions can make a difference, too.
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:58 PM   #8
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Are they thin? Then they're probably haricot verte or "French" green beans.

They are the only pre-packaged green beans I've ever seen in the store.
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Old 11-04-2007, 04:43 PM   #9
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I think I know the prepackaged green beans you're talking about. They started showing up at supermarkets around here last year. Come in 3 types - all green, all yellow wax (a BIG & welcome surprise, since no one EVER sells yellow wax beans around here unless they're canned, which I HATE), & a green & yellow wax combo.

The beans are lovely, very high grade & fresh, & last for quite awhile in the fridge if you can't cook them right away.
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Old 11-04-2007, 04:53 PM   #10
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Do they have a name or brand name on the package? Who packages them? Just curious.
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:16 PM   #11
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Camera phone pic. It doesn't do the color justice.
They have a website I noticed, too GreenLine Foods -- Your Premier Source For Fresh Trimmed Green Beans click on "about us". I don't know how much of what they say is simply good advertising hype, but there certainly seems to be a difference from the "home grown" variety.
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:44 PM   #12
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LOL - yep - looks like a varietal difference ... you've probably been getting Blue Lake bush beans at the market - these are a different breed - the French Hericots Verts - whch do tend to be a little darker green and more flavorful than the common green bean.

When it comes to canned - my fav is Allen's Italian Cut - a little bacon drippin's - and a dash of s&p .... yeah! I'm sure Uncle Bob is familiar with these.
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
LOL - yep - looks like a varietal difference ... you've probably been getting Blue Lake bush beans at the market - these are a different breed - the French Hericots Verts - whch do tend to be a little darker green and more flavorful than the common green bean.
I agree, as always, with Michael. I have grown several varieties of green beans in my home garden. There are definite flavor, texture, and color differences between the various varieties. I now grow purple bush-beens almost exclusively, as they are easy to find in the green foilage and taste great. Also, you will find that beans stir-fried in a little oil, or properly steamed have much better flavor, brighter if you will, than their boiled counterparts. Oven roasting and grilling are also great ways to cook the beans. But you have to be careful not to scorch or overcook them.

I steamed a package of green beans such as you have in the microwave by simply placing the unopened package in (after cutting a very small slit to allow steam to escape) and cooking on high for about 3 minutes. They were absolutely some of the tastiest beans I have made, and perfectly tender-crisp. A touch of salted butter completed the beans.

You can also change the flavor profile of green or yellow beans by adding a touch of good EVOO, garlic, dill, or clarified butter to the beans as they are cooking.

Save the canned beans for stews or soups. If you can get them, use the fresh beans. They taste so much better.

Oh, one more thing, you mentioned the nutritional value of fresh beans being higher than canned beans. you are somewhat correct. Water-soluble vitamins and minerals will leach out the canned beans into the can liquor. Add the can liquor to your soups, stews, and sauces to keep the nutritional value. If you taste it, it is similar to some teas, and adds flavor and nutritional value to broths and stocks.

This of course is true of any canned liquor, including canned meats and fish.

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Old 11-05-2007, 05:39 AM   #14
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Yup - that's the brand we've been getting here as well, & they ARE delicious beans - "almost" as good as the Haricot Verts I've grown myself!

I haven't microwave-steamed them in the bag as it's just husband & me, & we don't use the whole bag at one time, but they seem to cook up great no matter what you do with them. And like I said before, the wax bean & wax bean/green bean combos are exceptionally nice because wax beans rarely if ever show up in the markets.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:33 AM   #15
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in my opinion nothing beats fresh green beans. Snap them, put them in a pressure cooker with ham and potatoes.. Yummy!!!!

I also like them steamed, still slightly crunchy--oriental style.

Or place them in a skillet along with some bacon and onion. Allow them to fry for really long time, they should be changing color and wrinkling a bit when they are done-- wow, what a flavor!!!

Canned is OK, but not nearly as flavorful as fresh..

Now for something completely different--take french style, dredge in egg and flour and fry in hot oil. They taste a lot like morel mushrooms!
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:40 AM   #16
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I too love green beans but I've noticed in Europe those taste different too. I also would like to know what is the brand of these green beans you're talking about maybe that's the kind I got used to and loved in Europe.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:44 AM   #17
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I tried growing beans (and corn) once. I couldn't keep up with the weeds. Maybe I'll try again and not plant such a big area. I'd love to grow my own and now I know the "right" variety for good taste and color.
Another bacon grease endorsment. I will have to try that. And yet another reason I should get a pressure cooker...... ham, potatos and green beans is making me hungry.
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Old 11-05-2007, 08:33 AM   #18
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To clear up a bit of initial confusion, bin in Australia and the UK refers to the garbage bin. In the US it generally refers to any sort of open receptacle. And a vegetable bin in a store would generally be taken to mean a container with veggies in it.

As with anything, the quality varies. And although we here in the US have ratings for beef, have never seen one for a green bean. So ya look, try, and figure out what is tastiest to you.

As for the canned, they are not our favorite. But we have a bil who will only eat them from the can. So we take them, French cut, add some ham and onions, and they are pretty tasty that way. Not as good as the fresh stuff but one must cook for the guest, at least in my opinion.

Anyway green beans do vary in their quality, even the ones we have grown ourselves.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:12 AM   #19
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Except for canned shell beans & corn, I NEVER buy canned vegetables. Can't stand the taste or the texture.

Frozen, however, is an entirely different matter. I ALWAYS have a bag of frozen green beans in the freezer because I frequently find them much much much better in quality than whatever fresh beans are available.

My favorite hands-down favorite brand for ALL my frozen vegetables is "Hanover". They carry both regular green beans & "petite" green beans (which are more like Haricots Verts), & with apologies for getting off the subject of green beans, their other frozen vegetables are terrific too. I particularly love their "petite brussels sprouts", which are truly delicious & might even turn brussels sprouts haters around - lol!! In fact, rather than take a chance on ending up with old "fresh" sprouts, I've routinely used Hanover frozen sprouts to accompany our Xmas Roast Goose dinner every year. I also always have a package of their frozen peas in the freezer as well to add to everything from stirfries to soups to stews. Just love the quality of their products.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:22 AM   #20
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As a rule, the frozen veges we get over here offer no better selection than the fresh section. So I never see the point for myself as I can control the quantity better if I buy fresh. I will buy Asian vege mixes that are frozen as it is quicker and easier than sourcing them all - and often cheaper.

As to canned, there are somethings that I never touch like asparagus but things like tomatoes, butter beans, beetroot are often better than sourcing and preping yourself. They are also handy as standbys, esp the canned mushrooms.
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