German Green Beans

My German grandmother made them … and my mom made them … and I can’t even remember when I first ate these German Inspired French green beans.  Yep, you read that right!  They’re multi-cultural!  Honestly, I’m not entirely sure if a can of “French Green Beans” is really the long thin variety or our American snap beans cut to look like it.  Either way, I always use the French cut style in this recipe.  It makes for a creamier texture. 

This is my all-time favorite way to eat green beans.  Love doesn’t even begin to explain my relationship with these beans.  I think it’s the combination of sugar and vinegar … and bacon grease! I like serving these with a thickened sauce … it makes the vinegar and sugar combination stick to the beans better.  

This is a pretty common side dish, especially at potlucks! It’s super easy and everyone makes it a little different.  I’ve had cold versions of this, usually with other veggies mixed in (corn, pimento, peppers, raw onions). As with any ancestral recipe, ingredients change as food availability changes.  I suspect this dish is a remnant of the German Bohnensalat (bean salad) that is made in the same manner, but served slightly warmed.  If you look through old community and church cookbooks from the mid-1900s, especially from the Midwestern German settlements, you’ll see many varieties of this same dish.


German Green Beans
Serves 8
This is a quick and easy alternative to using fresh beans.
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  1. 6 slices bacon
  2. 3 15oz cans French cut green beans, juice reserved
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  5. 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
  1. Fry bacon in stock pot until crisp. Remove and crumble.
  2. Pour drained green beans into stock pot on top of bacon grease and heat through.
  3. Mix vinegar and sugar and pour into beans, stir until incorporated.
  4. Make a slurry by mixing 1/4 cup reserved juice from green beans with the cornstarch. Pour into beans, stir until incorporated.
  5. Bring to a boil to allow liquid to thicken.
  6. Serve in large serving bowl topped with bacon crumbles
  1. You can add a small diced onion to the bacon grease to saute before adding the beans. This will give a little more spice to the dish.
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