How can I keep fresh green beans fresh til Thursday?
November 20, 2023 7:38 AM   Subscribe

I have a busy schedule this week, so yesterday was the only time I had to go grocery shopping for my contribution to Friendsgiving. I bought some fresh green beans and need to keep them from going bad before I make a green bean casserole with them on Thursday morning.

The only green beans my grocer had in stock were haricot verts pre-packaged in plastic bags. What should I do to maximize freshness so they don't rot by Thursday morning? Keep them in the original bags? Rinse with vinegar water and store with paper towels in a tupperware? Freeze then thaw? I'm worried because they are the more delicate, thin kind of beans, and I have no idea how fresh those pre-packaged bags are to begin with.
posted by misskaz to Food & Drink (17 answers total)
Response by poster: Also: I will not have time to make the casserole early and freeze it. I have to make it Thursday morning.
posted by misskaz at 7:41 AM on November 20

Often when they're pre-packaged, they'll have a 'best by' date on them. Does yours have any info?

Because they're going into a green bean casserole, they'll be pretty well cooked overall, so I think you could freeze and thaw them without any loss of flavor/texture. Another option would be yes, to wrap them in paper towels / cloth towels and put into a plastic bag with one end open (to keep moisture levels steady). But often, those bags are already filled with nitrogen to keep the beans as fresh as possible, so I don't know if taking them out and wrapping would do them any favors.
posted by hydra77 at 7:44 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]

They'll be just fine if you leave them be, and store them in the fridge. They aren't going to rot in three days.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:46 AM on November 20 [38 favorites]

Best answer: You could blanch them - it will stop them from going bad, and they should last an additional 4-5 days in the fridge. Blanching is the first step in many casserole recipes, anyway, and should help them keep a nice green color.
posted by ourobouros at 8:17 AM on November 20 [12 favorites]

I'd leave the in the packaging in the fridge - maybe in the crisper box if your fridge has one? Green beans should last a week without getting weird, unless they were already on their way out when you bought them.
posted by Toddles at 8:27 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't fuss with them and they should be fine. Sometimes we put a paper towel in bagged or boxed greens to keep them fresher and I suppose you could do that here. We routinely buy pre-packaged green beans and do nothing with the bag and eat them 5-7 days after purchase without issue.
posted by twelve cent archie at 8:32 AM on November 20

Best answer: I've had just-picked-from-a-garden green beans last in my fridge for three weeks.

If you're only talking three days, you would probably be fine just leaving them in the packaging. ourobouros' advice to blanch them now might save you a step with the cooking time later, as a bonus, but if you don't want to do that you will be totally fine just leaving them there in the fridge.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:39 AM on November 20 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Thirding "blanch 'em and then keep them in the fridge"
posted by thecaddy at 8:44 AM on November 20

Sort out any blech ones, additional leaves and such and leave them be. Fresh green beans last quite a while!
posted by amanda at 9:49 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If these are pre-trimmed, 3 days miiiight be a stretch for them, so blanching is the way to go there. If they're whole, 3 days is fine, leave 'em in the package and cook on Thursday.
posted by carrioncomfort at 9:50 AM on November 20

I also came here to suggest doing a Golden Girl to them.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:18 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

It helps to lower the refrigerator temperature a couple of degrees if you can… to 37 or 38 F.
posted by wryly at 10:28 AM on November 20

I would take them out of the package, remove any dicey ones, wrap in a paper towel and put them back in the package without sealing it (or poke holes in the package).
posted by vunder at 10:57 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

I would pick out any doubtful ones, trim the ends of all the rest of them and put them into a shallow bowl of ice water, to ensure they don't wither and shrivel. It's the same as crisping up vegetables you are preparing to serve raw. They want to be as cold as possible, so the bowl would go in the fridge. They just need enough water to cover.
posted by Jane the Brown at 2:04 PM on November 20

It's the same as crisping up vegetables you are preparing to serve raw.

It is, but that’s not what OP is doing? Three days in a water bath (no matter how cold) is going to result in some truly atrocious green beans.
posted by not just everyday big moggies at 4:01 PM on November 20

Response by poster: The big debate in my head was whether the benefits of any storage method would be greater than those of the nitrogen likely in the sealed packaging. But I was also worried because they are pre-trimmed and some of the beans looked dark and juicy like they might be getting soft. No dates on the packaging, but the produce from my grocery store can sometimes rot surprisingly quickly.

So I decided to blanch them. There weren't any that were super soft but there were some duds in there so I'm glad I did. They are now sitting in tupperware in the bottom crisper drawer of the fridge. Thanks!
posted by misskaz at 4:38 PM on November 20 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Update: blanching worked spectacularly, not only were the beans still crisp and fresh but they stayed a nice bright green in the casserole and everyone raved. Thanks, AskMe!
posted by misskaz at 5:06 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]

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