"Green beans" is a general name that covers many related types of beans—and is also used to describe the most common type sold, which are a variety called Blue Lake. Those are the classic green beans—the ones we all grew up with and that our grandmothers called string beans. They are no longer really “string beans” though, says Robert Schuller, Melissa’s Produce spokesperson (and Cooking Light “Produce Guru”). The tough string was bred out of the most common varieties about 30 years ago.
Haricot vert, also known as French beans, are a thinner, shorter variety—usually about 4-inches long (while Blue Lake green beans are 5-7 inches). They cook in about half the time, and are more tender than Blue Lake green beans.
See our collection of Green Bean Recipes for ways to use different varities of green beans.
Recipe: Sautéed Green Beans With Bacon