Before cooking, wash beans thoroughly in clear, cool water, and trim the tips.
Boiling, steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying are popular ways to prepare beans. Whatever cooking method you choose, remember to cook beans just until tender using the smallest amount of water; they should remain bright green.
Green beans can be served on their own or used in salads, casseroles, soups, and stir-fries--either whole, frenched (cut lengthwise), or cut into inch-long pieces. They can also be pickled.
To French beans (cut them into ribbon-thin lengths), trim the beans and, using a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler with frenching blades at one end, cut the beans into thin strands.