Traditional Foods

Green Beans

Green beans were brought to North America by trade and Tribes migrating from South America. They thrive in any type of soil, from sandy to clay. Green beans may also be called string beans or snap beans. Green beans, eaten with their tender husk, are one of the most common beans. Traditionally, fresh green beans were strung together, then hung to dry for preserving. Once dried, green beans were used in many ways. They could be put back into water and cooked with a bit of fat or meat for added flavor. They might be mixed with cornmeal or even ground to make bean meal or flour.


Choose firm, crisp bean pods that are bright green. They should snap easily when bent. If the beans are limp, split, and have rust spots or scars, throw them out.

A pound of fresh green beans equals about 3 cups of raw, cut up beans or about 2 cups of cooked green beans.
Fresh green beans are available during the warmer summer months and early fall. If green beans are not in season, you can use canned or frozen green beans instead. Be sure to drain and rinse canned beans to reduce the amount of added sodium or salt in your recipe.

Green beans are high in vitamin C. They also provide vitamin A, folate, iron and fiber.


Store fresh green beans in a plastic bag in the produce drawer of the fridge and they should stay fresh for 3 to 5 days. Green beans may be preserved and stored after canning or freezing.


Wash green beans in cold water and then snap or trim the ends off each bean.

Green beans may be cooked on the stove, in the oven or even in the microwave.

Adapted from; Hall, R. N. (2020, November 18). Native American Foodways from,

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