Fresh Green Beans ~ West Virginia Style

Fran Miller


In West Virginia, we take our fresh green beans seriously. And we love them so much that we cook them for HOURS! Imagine my horror when a northern friend cooked hers for 15 minutes. I still mourn those poor green beans who didn't have a chance to make good.

Not to start another Civil War, and respecting all cooking styles, but here's the way you do it where I come from. =^..^=


★★★★★ 3 votes

6-8, depending on serving size
10 Min
3 Hr
Stove Top


  • some
    fresh green beans
  • some
  • some
    ham, ham bone, or ham hock
  • 1/2 Tbsp
    sugar, optional

  • some
    chopped onion

How to Make Fresh Green Beans ~ West Virginia Style


  1. Check out these beauties! Grab a "mess" of fresh green beans from the garden or support your local farmstand or farmer's market to find them.
  2. Snap off the ends & pull out any strings on both sides. I also snap the beans into a fairly uniform size.
  3. Wash them carefully, looking for any bad spots to trim out.

    Put the green beans into a sauce pan or dutch oven, depending on how many beans you're cooking. I usually use the dutch oven since I seldom cook less than a pound of green beans and often more.
  4. Add water to cover the beans.
  5. Add the meat. One ham hock (Mom's preference) will cook up to about 2 or so pounds of green beans. Anything else is just the cook's preference as to amount.
  6. Mom always added about a tablespoon of sugar to a pot of beans. For the smaller amount of beans I cooked in this demo, I used about 1/2 of the amount on the tablespoon.
  7. Cover & cook over MEDIUM-LOW heat for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes (setting the timer so I won't forget) and checking on the water level. If it's boiling away too quickly, turn down the stove. Keep the beans covered with water for the first 2 hours of cooking.

    When the beans are fork tender and start to fall apart a bit, remove the lid and allow the water to cook down for another 30 to 60 minutes, stirring more often & watching closely.
  8. I usually don't need to add additional salt since the meat is salty, but taste before serving to decide.

    OK, stop eating those green beans and save some for supper! =^..^=

Printable Recipe Card

About Fresh Green Beans ~ West Virginia Style

Course/Dish: Vegetables
Main Ingredient: Vegetable
Regional Style: Southern
Other Tag: Healthy

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