Challenge: Green Beans canned vs. fresh

Green beans are a classic side dish for any holiday. I debated an update on green bean casserole, but decided instead to serve fresh green beans and canned green beans, each were lightly sauteed in butter with garlic, salt and pepper and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon. 

Fresh Green Beans

Green beans are pretty simple to prepare. I put mine into a skillet with a bit of water and steamed them for about eight minutes. I drained the pan, wiped it dry and then sauteed them in butter with garlic for about three minutes.  I bought mine for 99 cents per pound; a pound yields about four to six servings.

Process: Steam or boil for about six to eight minutes, then lightly saute in butter 
Active time:  4 minutes 
Total time:  11 minutes 
Cost per 1/2 cup serving: 28 cents
Cleanup factor: One pan
Ingredients: GREEN BEANS, BUTTER, GARLIC, SALT, PEPPER, LEMON JUICE

Canned Green Beans

Process: Open a can, drain excess water, lightly saute in butter 
Active time:  4 minutes 
Total time:  8 minutes 
Cost per 1/2 cup serving: 24 cents
Cleanup factor: One pan 

Ingredients: GREEN BEANS, BUTTER, GARLIC, SALT, PEPPER, LEMON JUICE

The Result

 Fresh green beans: 7
Canned green beans: 0

All the firemen immediately recognized the grayish-green color of the canned beans. Here’s what else they said:

  • “They don’t even look the same. It’s almost like they’re a different vegetable.”
  • “The crispness of the green beans is really nice. Lots of flavor.”
  • “It’s not that I dislike canned green beans, but side-by-side like this, it’s a reminder how much better they are fresh.”
  • “They remind me of school lunches.” 

  

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About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry" and "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School." Her third book, "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good" will be published in April 2014. All are published by Viking/Penguin.

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