A long, slender green pod with small seeds inside. The entire pod is edible. It's also called string bean (because of the fibrous stringnow bred out of the speciesthat used to run down the pod's seam) and snap bean (for the sound the bean makes when broken in half). The wax bean is a pale yellow variety of green bean. Green beans are available year-round, with a peak season of May to October. Choose slender beans that are crisp, bright-colored and free of blemishes. Store in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, for up to 5 days. Cook gently by steaming or simmering just until tender-crisp. Green beans have a fair amount of vitamins A and C. See also beans.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.