String Beans vs. Green Beans: What’s the Difference?

by Charlie
Difference Between String Beans and Green Beans

String beans or green beans? Do you know what type of beans you are holding? And if somebody asks you, can you tell if there’s a difference between these two? Well, we’re here to tell you all about it. So let’s get right to it.

Green beans are unripe, young fruits of the Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), which is a legume family. It belongs to the plant family Fabaceae and genus Phaseolus. Common beans are herbaceous annual plants that produce edible dry seeds and unripe fruit, which we call beans. Yes, green beans are fruits!

There are 3 types of common beans. These are dry beans, snap beans, and shell beans. Snap beans are young pods that people harvest before the seeds develop. And snap beans are otherwise known as green beans, and also otherwise known as string beans.

What’s the difference between string beans and green beans? Well, there is none.

Snap beans, green beans, and string beans are one and the same. It is called by many names. In countries like the Philippines, they are otherwise called Baguio beans, which is the name of a popular city up North, near Mt. Province, where green beans are cultivated along with other vegetables.

Why are green beans called snap beans? They came to be called snap beans because they easily break and make a snapping sound as you bend and break them.

Now, why are they also called string beans? They are also called string beans because there was a time when all green beans had a string that runs across the whole length of the sides of the pod. However, most hybrids of green beans we see and buy from the markets today are already stringless. They say that Lazy Housewife was the first stringless hybrid that was cultivated.

Are String Beans Bush Beans or Pole Beans?

String beans or green beans are bush beans. All bush beans are green beans. Bush beans are those that grow on short bushy plants and don’t need support. Pole beans, on the other hand, are climbing beans. These are also called vine beans because they are a bit viney and need some stakes for support.

While all green beans are bush beans, not all pole beans are green beans. Moreover, not all pole beans are Common Beans. Others like the Winged Bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) belong to the same plant family but is from a different genus (Psophocarpus).

We can say the same thing about yardlong beans or otherwise called, asparagus beans. These look a lot like string beans and belong to the same plant family but a different genus (Vigna).

Do All Green Beans Look Alike?

No, they don’t. Green beans may be wide and flat, fleshy and round, or long, slim, and round. Some are a little shorter than others. String beans or snap beans like Romano beans, also called Italian flat beans, are flat, wide, and rounded. They are a variety of green beans. Some Kentucky Wonder green beans are even wider.

Are All Green Beans Green?

Did you know that not all green beans are green? Most green beans are naturally green. But some varieties have different colors. Purple Beans have additional plant pigments called anthocyanins that give them their purplish color. But as the pigment sheds during cooking, the beans eventually turn green. These are a bit sweeter than what’s usual for green beans.

Wax Beans are also green beans, but they don’t have chlorophyll. That’s why they are yellow, and they stay yellow even after cooked. Their seeds are pale blue in color, and the pod or flesh is yellow. They taste as green beans should, but a bit grassy and nutty. They taste great when sautéed with brown butter or splashed with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. They also go well in salads or paired with seafood.

Haricots Verts, which is French for green beans, are tender and thinner green beans. They have more flavor than regular green beans. Sometimes, you see them in store packs labeled as French Green Beans.

Another green bean variety is the Rattlesnake pole bean. It is green with purple stripes.

How Do You Store Green Beans?

Store your green beans in the crisper section of your refrigerator. And put these snap beans in a plastic bag. For the best taste, consume them within 7 days.

How Can You Enjoy String Beans?

You can enjoy green beans in different ways. Try steaming, boiling, or stir-frying some string beans. You can also bake or stew them with other ingredients.

How about having green beans casserole? It’s a popular Thanksgiving dish. You can also deep fry them in batter to enjoy some Green Bean Tempura.

You can also pickle green beans or buy them pickled and pair them with some meat.

Final Thoughts

  • Green beans, string beans, and snap beans are all the same kind of beans. They are one.
  • Green beans are a Common Bean, from the Plant Family Phaseolus vulgaris and Genus Phaseolus.
  • Green beans are called string beans because most green beans used to have strings running downwards on both sides.
  • String beans are also called snap beans because they make a crisp, snapping sound when you break them in half.
  • Not all green beans are green in color. Other green bean varieties are yellow (Wax Beans), purple (Purple Beans), or green with purple stripes (Rattlesnake Pole Beans).
  • All green beans are bush beans, but not all pole beans are green beans.
  • Not all green beans look alike. Some are flat and wide. Other snap beans are thin and long. Some others are rounded.

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