There are plenty of different ways to eat green beans. Raw, cooked, in casseroles, or by themselves. If they’ve been sitting in your fridge for a while, you may be wondering: Do green beans go bad?
Green beans go bad when they develop brown spots, become mushy, or do not snap when broken in half. Cooked green beans and raw green beans have the same shelf life, lasting about a week in the refrigerator. If left on the counter, green beans should be used within a day. In the freezer, green beans will last up to six months.
Let’s look at how long green beans last in varying conditions, and how to keep your green beans fresh the longest.
Do Green Beans Go Bad? How Long Do Green Beans Last?
You may have had the best intentions for your green beans, but never got around to cooking with them. How long until they turn bad?
How Long Do Green Beans Last Outside?
If you bought your green beans at the store and plan to use them that day, leaving them on the counter isn’t a big deal. They can last up to 2 days outside of the fridge.
Green beans left outside the fridge should be kept away from direct sources of sunlight, such as near a window, or on the counter in a spot that gets direct sunlight.
If you’re not planning on using your green beans that day, it’s best to throw them in the fridge. This will keep them cool and crisp.
How Long Do Green Beans Last in The Fridge?
Green beans that are properly stored in the fridge can last up to a week. This goes for both raw and cooked versions. Casseroles will depend on what ingredients were used.
The key here is proper storage. If green beans are simply tossed in the fridge with no container, or if they’re still wet when put in the fridge, they may go bad faster.
If it’s been a few days past a week, your green beans may still be okay to cook with. Always check for signs they have gone bad, such as brown spots or mushiness.
How Long Do Green Beans Last in The Freezer?
Maybe you were planning a green bean casserole and had to cancel your dinner. Or you couldn’t find the time to cook the green beans you bought last week.
Whatever the reason, freezing green beans that have been in the fridge for over a week is a great way to save your veggies and still be able to use them later.
Green beans stored in the freezer will keep good for up to six months. They can be easily thawed and used in your favorite recipes, all while tasting as good as the day you bought them.
Green beans last the longest in the freezer. But if you plan to use them within a week, keeping them in the fridge will be the most convenient.
How to Tell If Green Beans Have Gone Bad / How to Know Green Beans Are Fresh?
There are a few ways to tell if your green beans are still fresh and ready to use. When in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If something looks off about your green beans, throw them away.
Feel the texture: Green beans should be firm and able to snap when you break them. If the vegetable feels mushy, limp, or bendy, they’re probably old. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re spoiled, but they will probably not taste as fresh.
Smell: As with most foods, if your green beans smell off in any way, it’s probably time to toss them. Off smells are a sign that bacterial growth may have begun.
Check the color: Green beans should have a vibrant green color. If your vegetables are starting to fade into a very dark green, or if they turn brown, it means they are starting to go bad.
Check for mold: This would be the most obvious sign that your green beans are not fresh. Mold, or a slimy texture, is a good indicator that your green beans need thrown away and replaced with fresh veggies.
How to Store Green Beans?
Proper storage of green beans will prolong their shelf life and give you more time to prepare your favorite recipe with a fresh vegetable.
Don’t wash until ready: If you’re planning on storing your green beans in the fridge, don’t wash them just yet. The water droplets will speed up the spoiling process, giving your green beans a much shorter shelf life.
Refrigerate: Place your green beans (unwashed) in a plastic bag or container. The best place for them is your vegetable drawer in the fridge. This is the easiest way to keep your veggies fresh if you plan to use them within a week.
Can You Freeze Green Beans? How?
You can certainly freeze green beans. It’s a simple enough process that will extend the shelf life up to 6 months.
Wash: Unlike with refrigerating green beans, when you freeze them, you’ll want to wash them beforehand. Simply run them under cold water.
Cut: Make sure to cut the stems off the green beans. Next, you’ll want to cut the actual green bean into smaller pieces. Cutting them in half works just fine.
Blanch: This step isn’t necessarily required, but it’s suggested for most veggies that you blanch them before freezing them. To do this, boil your green beans for about 3 minutes, and then dunk them in ice water until the beans are cool to the touch.
Dry: Make sure your green beans are completely dry before freezing.
Pack and freeze: Place your green beans in a freezer-safe bag or container and place them in the freezer.
How to Thaw Green Beans?
Green beans don’t necessarily need thawed from the freezer. But they can be.
Fridge: You can place your green beans in the fridge to thaw out before using them in your recipe. This will slowly raise the temperature of the green beans.
Microwave: Place them in a microwave-safe container and add enough water to completely cover the beans. Microwave the beans until they are just starting to get warm.
Frequently Asked Question About Green Bean’s Shelf Life
Here are a few common questions and answers about green bean’s shelf life.
My Green Beans Have Brown Spots. Can I Still Use Them? It depends on how brown they are. If there are only a few spots mixed in, but otherwise the green beans look good, they are probably still fresh enough to use. Check for wilting stems, or the outline of seeds.
How to Avoid Mushy Green Beans? Cooking vegetables to just the right crispiness can be difficult. Many times, when your green beans are mushy, it is because they are over-cooked. This causes them to be bendy and rubbery. Try cooking them for less time. Tasting always helps along the way!
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium, and B vitamins. Proper storage and preparation will give you the freshest-tasting, longest-lasting green beans for your favorite dinner recipes.