The name ‘French bean’ is a misnomer; the ancestor of modern French beans was native to South America. After the Spanish conquest, French beans were brought to Europe, where they are eaten widely today. French beans taste best when they are picked while still relatively small and are cooked soon after harvesting. At their best, the beans are long, thin, and crisp. Though most varieties are green, French beans are also found with purple or variegated pods.