Is there an easy way to trim the ends off green beans quickly?

  • Is there an easy way to trim the ends off green beans quickly? stephennmcdonald

    A staple in our house is green beans. It's not uncommon that I'll buy 5-10 lbs and blanch or cook them all in one session, to reheat or eat cold in lunches all week. I also buy fresh beans in bulk when in season, and trim/blanch before freezing.

    For a pound, trimming the ends off the beans is no big deal, but when we're talking 5 or more pounds, I find the trimming process extremely tedious and more importantly, time consuming.

    Similar to this question, I'm looking for some kind of trick or tool that may help with this preparation.

    Right now, here is how I do it:

    1. Hold chefs knife in right hand, blade flat on surface of cutting board
    2. Grab 5-10 beans and press them against the blade of the knife so they line up flush
    3. Chop ends
    4. Turn beans, press against blade again to line up other side
    5. Chop again

    This method isn't terrible, but it can be tedious trying to get the ends to line up for chopping. If I grab 10 beans, I feel like I'm spending too much time lining things up because they're different sizes and curvatures. If I grab 5 beans, I feel like I'm not doing as much as I can at once.

    I've also tried pinching the ends off by hand, using my thumbnail as a sort of mini knife. However, going one at a time like this feels very inefficient as well.

    So...Is there a more effective way to trim the ends green beans than what I'm currently doing, and are there any tips or tools that will make my job more efficient?

  • This seems like the easiest way. You could also go old school and just tear off the ends with a snap. I don't know if it would be any faster but you could grab a bunch and just run it along a slicer to chop of the ends.

  • I have found that scissors is the answer to this particular problem. Simply grab a few bean, snip the ends and then turn the hand over and snip again. This doesn't wield beans that are uniform in length though, so if you need that, you will still have to do some cutting. I would say that you could blow through a batch of five pounds in a few minutes once you get the rhythm.

    P.S. I say scissors but what I really use is tin snips a la Alton Brown.

  • I use the thumb-nail method. If you're (almost) touching each bean individually anyway, I find it the fastest. I want to inspect my beans anyway, so I do this at the same time.

    YMMV, of course.

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