Do Green Beans Go Bad?

Green beans are in season only for a few months, so when they’re available, it’s easy to go overboard and buy too much. If that’s you, you need to know how long green beans last before they go bad.

Like many veggies, green beans don’t keep for too long, but they freeze well. That means even if you’ve bought way too much on a sale, or harvested more than expected, you can still save them to enjoy later.

All you need to know is how to store the green beans, how long they keep up for, and how to freeze them. And this article covers all of that. Interested? Let’s dive in.

How To Store Green Beans

Fresh green beans belong to the fridge, and the vegetable drawer specifically (UM, CU). Sure, if you plan on using them the same day you bought them or the day after, leaving them on the counter is okay, but that’s about it. And make sure they don’t sit in sunlight or near any sources of heat, like the stove.

Warning

Don’t wash green beans before refrigerating them. Any leftover water drops might speed up the quality degradation process, and you don’t want that. Wash the veggies before you prep them instead.

When it comes to how to store them, use a plastic bag (UM, CU) or container. Unless, of course, the beans are the only thing in the crisper. If that’s the case, feel free to skip the packaging.

For cooked green beans, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Prepping green beans
(credit: Neha Deshmukh)

How Long Do Green Beans Last

Green beans don’t last all that long. They’re best for 3 to 5 days in the fridge(UM, CU), but usually stay quite alright for up to a week.

If that’s not enough for the pile of green beans you’ve bought, freeze them.

For cooked green beans, the storage period is pretty much the same – up to a week in the fridge.

Fridge
Green beans (fresh)5 to 7 days
Green beans (cooked)5 to 7 days

How To Freeze Green Beans

If you’ve ever frozen other veggies, the process should sound familiar. It can take some time, especially if you decide to blanch the green beans before putting them into the freezer. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Wash, remove stems, and cut. Unless those are green beans from your garden and you’re confident they are perfectly clean, wash them. Cutting them into 2- to 4-inch lengths helps with optimizing storage space, but it’s optional.
  2. (optional) Blanch the veggies. Place the beans in boiling water and keep there for 3 minutes (TAMU), then plunge into ice water. Please note that while most sources recommend blanching, some people (like Jami from An Oregon Cottage) find that unblanched green beans actually turn out better (AOC). If you’re freezing green beans regularly, it’s worth testing both options. Before blanching, check out our guide to blanching veggies.
  3. Dry the vegetables thoroughly. Place them on a kitchen towel for like 15 to 20 minutes, then pat them dry with paper towels. You want them to be dry before you continue.
  4. Portion and pack. Place the green beans in freezer bags, remove air, and seal tightly. Add a label with name and date if you like.
  5. Freeze.

That’s it. You can keep the veggies in the freezer for at least six months.

When it comes to defrosting, do it in the fridge or add them frozen to any dish you’re cooking on the stove.

Pile of green beans
(credit: Cyrus Crossan)

How To Tell If Green Beans Are Bad?

Before you cook, sauté, or add your green beans into a soup, make sure they are fresh, or at least still good enough to eat.

Texture and color is what sets apart fresh from old ones. Green beans should be green (duh!) and snap when you break them. Over time they start to brown and lose their crispness. That doesn’t make them spoiled or “off” right away, but they won’t taste as good as you’re used to.

When it comes to signs of spoiled green beans, look for the following:

  • Mold or black spots.
  • Soft texture. If the beans have turned mushy, it’s probably time for them to go. They might not be technically “bad,” but will taste terrible nonetheless.
  • Off smell. As usual, if a food product smells bad, it’s a pretty obvious sign something is wrong with it.

If everything seems perfectly fine, the beans should be okay to eat, even if they already sit for over a week in the fridge.

Sources