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Taste test: frozen green beans

Serving size 3/4 cup 2/3 cup 3/4 cup
Calories 34 30 30
Fat/Fiber 0g / 2g 0g / 2g 0g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium 2g / 0mg 2g / 0mg 2g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein 5g / 1g 5g / 1g 6g / 1g

According to our panelists, green bean casserole with condensed soup and french-fried onions is so yesterday's Thanksgiving. These days, fresh and bold greens are their preference. And, vegetable packers are making it easier than ever by freezing green beans in their own steaming bags. These go straight from the freezer to the microwave and into a serving dish within minutes. We knew busy cooks would like the convenience and carefree cleanup. Our panelists said green bean lovers will like the taste, too. We sampled six brands of frozen, cut green beans and picked three that we likely will buy for this week's holiday dinner.

By Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Archer Farms 82Great Value 60Green Giant 57

Size does matter when it comes to fresh green beans, our judges decided. They liked these beans from Super Target because they were longer and prettier than any of the others. "They display beautifully, have a fresh crunch and taste like spring," said one panelist. "They are snappy and fresh tasting and they plate prettily," said one judge. Overall, panelists said these were the most like fresh-picked beans.Color made Walmart's green beans stand out. Judges liked the bright color of the beans along with the fresh flavor. "These are very soft and lovely to look at," said one panelist. "There is a sweetness about these that I like," said another. Judges said the Great Value beans would be a good ingredient for a green bean dish because of their uniform size and shape. "These are a good, meaty bean, but I would add butter, almond slivers and maybe a dash of Mrs. Dash," one judge said.The familiar Green Giant's beans were less watery than the others and not as uniform in shape or color. Judges liked the fresh flavor and crunchy texture. One panelist said he would eat these as a snack because of the crispness. The only downside was the cooking directions. We cooked all of the products according to package directions, but found these needing a little bit more time to steam. However, panelists worried that a few more seconds could have ruined the whole batch.

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$1.86 for a 16-ounce bag from Target.$1 for a 12-ounce bag from Walmart.$1.38 for a 12-ounce bag from Walmart.

Also Sampled: Birds Eye ($1.99 for a 12-ounce bag from Publix, 46 points), Publix ($1.39 for a 12-ounce bag, 50 points) and Winn-Dixie Organic ($2.89 for a 12-ounce bag, 18 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Taste test: frozen green beans 11/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 19, 2011 3:31am]
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