Canned vegetables are an excellent alternative for those times when you don’t have time to prep, or you’ve run out of fresh, but they’re also known for being lower in nutrients and have a bad reputation for being mushy.
The truth is that some canned vegetables are better than others when it comes to nutrition, flavor, and texture.
When it comes to green beans, there is a difference between the canned and fresh beans, but are the canned version still healthy or worth the swap?
In this article, I’ll be comparing canned green beans against fresh head-to-head for nutrition, uses, storage and flavor to find out which is the better choice for you.
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Canned Green Beans Vs. Fresh Nutritional Comparison
Starting with the nutritional comparison and to make sure it’s accurate, I’ve used official data from the USDA FoodData Central for each kind of green beans (source links are at the bottom of this article).
The comparison is weight-for-weight per 100g of each kind of beans.
I’ve compared various kinds of canned vegetables against fresh, and in almost every case, there’s a difference in calories between the two, even though they’re the same kind of vegetable.
Although both kinds of beans are low-calorie, canned green beans contain 10kcal less than fresh green beans per 100g. This is because canned green beans lose some carbohydrates during the canning process and have a slightly higher water content than fresh beans.
|Green Bean Type||Calories Per 100g|
|Canned Green Beans||21kcal|
|Fresh Green Beans||31kcal|
When comparing the nutritional content of canned and fresh green beans, you can see that canned beans lose some nutrients during the canning process.
Canned green beans are lower in carbohydrates and, in turn, lower in natural sugars and dietary fiber. They’re also higher in sodium because they’re generally canned in water and salt, although low-sodium options are available.
|Nutrition Type||Canned Green Beans (value per 100g)||Fresh Green Beans (value per 100g)|
|of Which are Sugars||1.29g||3.26g|
|of Which is Saturated Fat||–||–|
Vitamins & Minerals Comparison
When comparing the vitamin and mineral content of canned green beans and fresh beans, you can see that fresh beans contain higher levels of micronutrients in all categories.
Although fresh green beans are higher in vitamins and minerals, canned beans still contain a range of micronutrients, but at a lower level, so fresh is best, but canned are an ok alternative if you’re in a hurry.
|Vitamin/Mineral Type||Canned Green Beans (value per 100g)||Fresh Green Beans (value per 100g)|
*mcg = microgram (1000th of a milligram) / mg = milligram (1000th of a gram)
Canned Green Beans Vs. Fresh Uses Comparison
Canned green beans are pre-cooked during the cooking process, which makes them appear a little washed out compared to vibrant green fresh beans, and they also have a softer texture.
If you’re looking for the crunch you get from fresh beans, then canned beans aren’t a great alternative; however, they do work well in dishes where they mix in with other ingredients, such as soups, casseroles, and quiches.
Canned green beans can also be used as a vegetable side dish, and they’re quick to prepare because they come ready chopped and just need heating through. Because canned green beans are already cooked, they can be eaten cold, but they taste a little better when they’re warm.
Storage and Availability
Fresh green beans are available in most large grocery stores and greengrocers, but they’re not always locally grown because they’re in season during the warmer summer months.
Depending on where in the world you live, if they’re out of season, the green beans in your local store may be imported from countries with warmer climates.
In contrast, canned green beans are an alternative available all year round and can be stored in a cool dark cupboard or party for about 2-3 years or until the manufacturer’s recommended use-by date.
As you’d expect, fresh green beans don’t last so long and can be kept in a refrigerator for up to a week.
To extend the time, you can keep fresh green beans; they can be quickly blanched and frozen for up to 12 months, which is helpful if you have home-grown beans and too many beans to eat all in one go.
Although canned and fresh green beans have a similar flavor, canned beans tend to be a little washed out compared to fresh and have a softer texture.
Canned vegetables aren’t to everyone’s taste, but some people swear by them; it really comes down to the individual’s preference.
When choosing the best kind of green beans for taste and texture, this is a subjective decision, so we need to do a poll to get a broader opinion.
Please help us by voting for your favorite – canned green beans or fresh, and once you vote, the winner so far will be revealed (no personal information is required to vote).
After comparing all of the nutritional data of canned and fresh green beans and the uses of each, I can now summarise the differences between the two:
- Fresh green beans are higher in all kinds of vitamins and minerals than canned, although canned beans retain micronutrients at lower levels.
- Canned beans are quicker to prepare and convenient to store all year round, although canned beans can be frozen to make them last longer.
- Canned beans are good for soups and casseroles, but they’re not as crunchy and fresh-looking as fresh beans, so they don’t work so well in recipes where you need the crunch you get from fresh beans.
It all comes down to which one you like best. Both kinds of green beans are healthy choices that contain a wide range of vitamins and minerals; canned beans are convenient, but fresh beans have more to offer nutritionally.
Hopefully, the information in this article can help you decide which is best for you.
More Canned Green Beans Vs. Fresh FAQ’s
Nutritionally canned beans aren’t better than fresh ones because they contain lower levels of vitamins and minerals. They are however a quick, convenient swap for those times when you don’t have much time to prep.
Canned green beans are pre-cooked during the canning process and can be eaten cold, but they taste better when heated through because of their softer texture.
I hope this article has helped you to find the information you were looking for; you might also find the following articles helpful too:
Canned Asparagus Vs. Fresh (Which is Best)
References Used for this Article
To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from the USDA FoodData Central; the links below contain the source information:
USDA FoodData Central Canned Green Beans Nutritional Information
USDA FoodData Central Fresh Green Beans Nutritional Information