There’s nothing quite like fresh green beans picked at their prime when they are crisp, green, and naturally delicious. When the last green beans in the garden are picked, it’s a bittersweet moment. The growing season is over, and fresh green beans from the garden won’t be available again for many months.
Some people choose to can green beans, but not everyone has the time or the necessary equipment for canning green beans. Have you ever considered freezing green beans? Garden fresh green beans that have been properly frozen retain their delicious flavor and vivid color, but before freezing green beans they must be blanched in order to retain their bright green color, vitamins, and their fresh-picked flavor.
The following information explains how to properly blanch green beans before freezing them. Freezing green beans is an easy alternative to canning, and freezing your garden fresh green beans will enable to you enjoy the taste of summer well into the fall and winter.
Blanching in Boiling Water
To begin blanching you’ll need a large kettle with a lid, and a wire basket that fits inside. The kettle should be large enough to hold a gallon of water and a pound of fresh vegetables.
Begin by heating a gallon of water to boiling, and while the water is heating, prepare the green beans by cleaning, snapping, and removing blemishes and strings if necessary. After the water comes to a full rolling boil, place the green beans in the wire basket, and lower them into the boiling water. Cover the kettle, and allow the green beans to remain in the boiling water for three minutes. Immediately immerse the green beans in ice water to stop the cooking process, and leave them in the cold water for about six minutes before draining.
Steam is an effective method of blanching, and you can blanch green beans with steam even if you don’t have a vegetable steamer. Simply boil about an inch of water in a large kettle, and place freshly prepared green beans in a wire basket. Suspend the wire basket over the boiling water, and place the lid on the kettle. Allow the green beans to steam for about three minutes, and immediately immerse the wire basket into ice water. The steam blanched beans should remain in the cold water for approximately six minutes before draining.
Freezing Blanched Green Beans
Once the green beans are blanched and completely cool they are ready for freezing. Place the blanched green beans in freezer bags or freezer containers, and be sure to leave about ½ inch of headroom. Seal the bags or containers, and immediately freeze the green beans for later use. Green beans properly sealed in freezer bags will retain their color, flavor, and texture for about nine months.