Reality is that most people don’t have a garden. And if you want to get even more real, it’s probably safe to say you haven’t so much as stuck your pinky finger in any dirt to grow anything, ever. But you like yourself some good green beans and would love that home-grown, slow cooked taste on your dinner table. You can actually get it from a canned green bean. Here’s every tip you need to make canned green beans taste better–or dare I say–good enough you won’t even need a garden.
The secret to make a canned green bean taste better isn’t the least bit difficult, I promise. And while my grandmother and even my mom still use the bacon or ham-hock approach to their beans, I’ve gone a different route over the last year or so and I have to say, they make some pretty fabulous green beans–leaving them tender and full of slow-c00ked flavor when they didn’t take very long at all.
For years I’ve canned my own beans. I have all kinds–flat ones like half runners, round ones (like the ones in the picture) which are called Blue Lakes and some heirlooms like my Miss Ollie’s I’ve raised that you can’t get in any store. We pass the beans down from year to year so we can grow the next crop. They’re called Miss Ollie after the lady who originally passed on the seed who knows how many years ago.
You can use my great bean approach with any style you like. The trick here is simple: you need canned beans, some beef bouillon and two cooking times. Now don’t die…let me explain.
You start by dumping your canned beans into a pot (don’t drain them). Then I use my favorite beef bouillon called Better Than Bouillon or you can use a cube of it if you’d prefer. You can find either of these in the soup section of your grocery store. What these will do is add the saltiness your beans will need and that meaty taste.
I actually prefer it to bacon once I started using it.
Then you turn your beans on high heat and bring them to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-high and then cook about 90% of the water off. When there’s a 1/2 left in the bottom of the pan, turn your beans off and walk away.
If you can, leave them sitting on the stove top for several hours. It’s fine to leave them there all day while you’re gone to work or you can put them in the fridge if that freaks you out and do the second step when you get in.
The final step is to bring them back to a low simmer and cook off the rest of the liquid and serve–that takes about 10 minutes or so. A long rest between cooking gives the bouillon time to really get in to the beans and they take on a soft, slow-cooked flavor. No one will ever know you don’t have a half-acre of them in the back yard.
I’ll attempt to make this in to a logical recipe you can follow.
How to make canned green beans taste better
Just because your beans come canned and from a grocery store doesn't mean they can't have that classic slow-cooked flavor you crave. Easy steps and no-fuss.
- 2 14.5 ounce cans green beans of your choice canned in water
- 1 teaspoon or cube beef bouillon
In a medium sauce pan, empty in the cans of green beans with their water. Add the beef bouillon.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until the water reduces by 3/4. Turn off heat and set beans aside on the stovetop or in the fridge for one to two hours or overnight is fine.
When ready to eat, bring the beans back to a simmer on the stove top and cook to remove the remaining water. Serve warm.
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