Green beans originated in the warm climates of Peru, making them well-suited for growing in home gardens in warm climates. Planted in late spring after the danger of frost has passed, these easy-to-grow plants grow rapidly producing clusters of slender green pods on short, compact plants. The harvesting period lasts for a week or more before bean pods ripen fully and toughen. Picking beans at the right time provides delicate young beans to grace the table.
Harvest green beans when pods are 4 to 5 inches long and the young beans inside the pod are small. Snap the beans from the plant, using care not to disrupt the plant or damage foliage. Leave small beans for a second picking.
Wash beans under cold running water immediately before cooking or eating green beans.
Prepare green beans for cooking by snapping or cutting both ends off the bean pods. Cut the beans into 1 1/2 inch sections. Small, tender beans may be left whole for cooking, if preferred.
Cook green beans in a saucepan with enough water to barely cover the beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the beans are fork tender.
Serve as a side dish with meat or poultry.