Green beans are available year round, with a peak season of May to October. Green beans are also called string beans and snap beans. Green beans were once called string beans. Today they are stringless; just break off the end as you wash them. Leave whole or cut into desired lengths. Wash beans thoroughly in clear, cool water. Lift beans from the wash water and leave garden debris behind. Rinse again. Beans can be cooked whole, cut crosswise, diagonally or French-cut. If you want sweet tasting, crisp fresh beans, cut them as little as possible. Cut older, more mature beans in the French style. Boiling, steaming or microwaving are popular ways to prepare beans. Stir-frying preserves the best qualities of the fresh bean. Whatever cooking method you choose, remember to cook beans as little as possible using the smallest amount of water as possible. TIP: The fewer beans in the pan, the quicker they cook and the better they taste. If cooking more than one pound at a time, use separate pans.