Snap beans picked straight from the vine are nutritious and full of flavor, and unlike most beans, they don't need to be dried before you can use them. Although snap beans taste best when they're fresh, they can safely be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They can also be frozen or canned for later use. Snap beans planted in early spring will be ready for harvest in midsummer.
Harvest snap beans when the bean pods are just beginning to fill out, but don't wait until they're plump because the beans will be tough and flavorless. The beans should be no larger than the diameter of a pencil.
Pick the snap beans off the vine with your fingertips, but be careful not to break the stems and vines. They will continue to produce beans. Toss the snap beans into a paper bag or a large plastic container.
Put the snap beans in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Brush off any dirt, but don't wash the snap beans until you're ready to cook them. Put them in zip-type bags and they'll keep for up to two weeks, although the beans will taste better if you use them sooner.
Continue to harvest the snap beans every other day. Doing so will encourage the plants to continue producing for several weeks. If you stop picking, the plants will stop producing.