Hello friends!! Any one else have too many fresh beans from your garden or local farm? Me too! We get beans every week right now from our CSA, plus I have eight bush style green bean plants growing in big pots on my patio. That adds up to a lot of beans! Everyone in my house likes them, but it tends to be overload at times. I really should explore some more green bean recipes… (adding that to my to do list). Any who, what ever I know we won’t eat, I blanch and freeze right away to preserve the freshness. I usually freeze a few bags each week, then we have a nice stock pile for winter. Today I thought I’d share with you the proper process for freezing green beans and wax beans. Don’t worry, it’s super simple.
First let’s talk about blanching. Why do I have to blanch my beans? Simply put, many vegetables, including green beans, have a naturally occurring enzyme that helps the plant to grow fruit and ripen. Which is good! The problem is that after the vegetable is harvested these enzymes are still active and can cause flavor and nutrient loss as well as a change in color and texture. Blanching is a process of killing this enzyme with heat to best preserve the quality of your food. Freezing alone does not stop this active enzyme, although it will slow it down, So if you know you will eat your beans in a week or two go ahead and freeze them without blanching. I don’t always know when mine will get used, so I blanch all of mine every time.
All you need to blanch and freeze your beans is…
- Large pot
- Large mixing bowl
- Water & Ice
- Cookie sheet – Lined with parchment paper
- Beans – Cleaned with the ends snapped off
- Freezer bags or containers – labeled with date and contents
- Freezer (No kidding right?)
Fill your pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill your mixing bowl with water and Ice and place it close to your pot with the boiling water. You will be transferring your beans quickly from hot to cold so it’s best for them to be close to each other.
Once your water is boiling, add your beans and cover. immediately start a timer for 3 minutes. The water should return to a boil within a minute. When the timer goes off quickly transfer your beans from the hot water to the ice water and make sure they are fully submerged. The cold water stops the beans from continuing to cook so make sure they are completely cold before transferring them to a clean towel. Dry your beans well and then spread them in an even layer onto a cookie sheet. Here you will freeze them for a few hours or over night. This way when you transfer them to bags or containers you won’t have a solid “beansicle”.
Two quart sized bags is what I froze from this weeks over-supply. They will stay fresh in a standard freezer for up to 9 month. 12 months in a deep freezer. Removing as much air as possible helps keep ice from building up. I typically use the straw technique where you seal the bag around a drinking straw and suck out as much air as you can before removing the straw and sealing it completely. Make sure you date your bags so you can eat them in the order that you froze them, it’s no fun when you can’t tell which beans to eat first!
When your ready to eat your beans you can steam them or saute them in butter or coconut oil with a little salt and pepper. YUMMY!! Remember though, they’ve been partially cooked so they will be done faster than when they are fresh! What’s your favorite green bean recipe?
By the way, I love your feedback so send me any questions or comments!!