If you grew up on a farm or even just with parents who preferred fresh, organic produce, then you know that canned vegetables are no match for fresh ones. That's particularly true when it comes to green beans, which have a delightful firm texture and a great snap when you break them in half, as opposed to the limp mushiness of canned green beans.
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Unfortunately, while it can be easy to take a can of green beans and dump them into a measuring cup to use in a recipe, whole, fresh green beans can be hard to fit in a measuring cup, so it's often easier to just buy 1 pound of green beans and use them in your recipe.
Green Beans: Pounds to Cups
It's important to recognize that when you're working with fresh green beans, you'll usually want to trim them before using them. That means cutting off the ends of each end and, if you have string beans, pulling the string out of the middle. You also want to chop them into approximately 1-inch sections for most recipes, although some recipes, like Nicoise salad, may look better when you use long, tender green beans.
Obviously, you can fit more trimmed green beans into a cup than whole green beans since the ends take up space. When working with whole green beans, you'll find that 35 to 40 green beans make up 1 pound. One pound of whole beans will make about 3 1/2 to 4 cups. When converting pounds to cups in terms of trimmed, chopped green beans, you'll find that 1 pound of trimmed green beans is about 3 cups worth, and chopped green beans make up about 2 3/4 cups.
In other words, if you need 1 cup of green beans, you'll need around 1/3 pound of trimmed or chopped green beans or 1/4 pound of whole green beans depending on the recipe.
Measuring Cooked Green Beans
If your recipe calls for a cup of cooked green beans, it's worth noting that the quantity will be reduced after cooking. Each cup of fresh green beans will reduce in quantity by about 2 to 3 tablespoons once cooked. This means you should cook about 1 1/4 cup of fresh green beans (or about 14 beans) to make sure you'll have enough green beans after they are cooked. Once cooked, it is a lot easier to measure 1 cup of green beans.
Using Frozen Green Beans
It's worth noting that while canned green beans are often salty and mushy, frozen green beans are usually just as good if not better than fresh ones. This is especially true if you're trying to use green beans out of season. If you're cooking something like green bean casserole with frozen green beans, you'll need to use the same quantity as you would if you were using chopped green beans, as almost all frozen green beans are sold prechopped. In other words, you'll need 1/3 pound of frozen green beans per cup.
Pounds to Grams
If you're using a recipe that calls for grams, you won't need to know anything about cups, but you will need to know what 1 pound of green beans equals in grams. Fortunately, since grams involve weight, it doesn't matter if your beans are chopped, trimmed or whole – you just need to know the weight. One pound is equal to 454 grams.