Look for beans with a smooth pod, ones that will "snap" cleanly when broken. Those that bend are likely drying out or too tough to eat. Also avoid bumpy pods because they contain enlarged seeds that have lost their tenderness.
You can refrigerate these beans for up to one week; they should be stored dry, unwashed and bagged in plastic.
Rinse off and top and tail beans before using.
They can be mixed with corn kernels to make succotash or cooked in boiling water for 8 minutes with the lid off to retain their bright colour.
Serve them with parsley butter; fresh lemon juice and sweet butter; or some chopped green onion and finely chopped garlic. Or try a German-style dressing of sour cream thinned with a spoonful of vinegar and mixed with a little chopped onion.
A Middle Eastern dish might feature steamed beans with olive oil and lemon. A Greek meal calls for slowly cooked fresh beans with tomatoes and cumin.
The French purée them in soup or serve with tuna, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes and olives as part of a salade niHoise. In China, they fry beans with slivered meat and hot peppers, served with rice.