How to cook fresh green beans

My absolute favorite thing about summer is fresh produce.

I grew up with a huge garden and if there was one thing my parents knew how to grow it was green beans.

In fact, my brother “Bud” and I started our first business when we were children picking/selling the surplus green beans to my dad’s coworkers.

So when Aaron and I started planning our garden, we never questioned if we’d grow green beans, just how many rows of them we’d plant!

We were so excited that despite drought and record setting heat we picked a big batch of green beans this week!

Fresh green beans can be intimidating if you’ve only prepared them from a store bought can but trust me, the extra work is definitely worth it.

There’s something nostalgic about Southern style green beans cooked “low and slow” that you just can’t help but love.

Fresh Green Beans


1 lb green beans, snapped

4 cups water

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 lb ham, bacon or some kind of cured pork

4-6 red potatoes, peeled and quartered

Salt (to taste)


1. Snap your green beans (and string, if necessary).

Or marry a guy as awesome as my husband who will do it for you and put them into a handy ziplock bag. I’m so spoiled!

(Note: You might have noticed the loose peas in my beans. Those are just shelled green beans that Aaron’s grandmother calls “shellies.” I had never heard of shelling green beans before but his family does it. If you don’t, no worries, the recipe works the same either way).

2. Pour water into stock pot and bring to a boil. While its heating up, chop up your pork.

Everyone has their own favorite pork to use in their beans.

If you’re like my mom, you use country ham to add smoke flavor and salt. If you’re like me and your husband’s family owns a restaurant with amazing sugar cured smoked ham, you ask him to bring some home.

If you didn’t marry into a pork restaurant or you live somewhere that doesn’t have country ham (bless your heart!) then you can use bacon.

Add your ham and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

The boiling water draws the flavor out of the meat so that when you add the beans they’ll be swimming in pork flavor. And seriously, when is that ever a bad thing?

3. Add green beans, potatoes and garlic powder.

Reduce heat and let it cook down for 2 hours or until the water has cooked off and the potatoes are soft.

When its done it should look something like this, smell amazing and taste even better!

About Celeste

Celeste grew up on a family beef cattle and show pig farm in Western Kentucky. In addition to farming and life as a restaurant wife, Celeste owns Celeste Communications where she works as a photographer, graphic designer, videographer and consultant. This blog is Celeste's personal soapbox. Any ranting or raving is her own and does not reflect the opinions of any of her clients. All photos and posts are copyrighted property of Celeste Communications.


How to cook fresh green beans — 5 Comments

  1. Hey saw your comment about Lorelei. How fun. It seems the name is getting more and more common. Thanks for stopping by. I am going to poke around.

  2. Tried your recipe last night. Used some Virginia ham I got from a friend. Added 1/4 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp salt. Best green beans I have ever eaten anywhere and my wife agrees. Thanks Celeste.

    Served them with pork tenderloin sliced into 3/4 inch thick slices marinated in simply fresh apple juice (from a Kroger subsidiary) overnight. Placed the slices in a large frying pan Then browned them both sides in a little olive oil and LIGHTLY sprinkled with garlic salt, onion salt, regular salt and pepper on both sides. Then add enough apple juice to almost cover the tenderloins and cook them on medium heat till the juice is reduced to a light brown syrup in the bottom of the pan. This is our favorite pork recipe.

  3. Hi Kim,
    I’d recommend frying the bacon first. I probably wouldn’t get it crispy, just a soft fry before adding it.
    Hope that helps!

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