During the summer months there is always something to be done in the garden. Right now it’s beans, going out to pick beans is a daily job. Green and yellow beans are one of my family’s favorite vegetable, so we make sure to plant a lot. This means we have extra during the summer, more than we can eat during the growing season. Our favorite way to preserve this extra produce is freezing, freezing beans is cheap, easy and quick. If you are up to your ears in beans follow these easy steps for fresh tasting garden produce all year long.
A great thing about freezing extra produce is that most everything you need is already in your kitchen.
Freezer bags – large or medium depending on how much you like per serving.
Large pot – to bring water to a boil.
Strainer or spoon – to remove the hot beans from the boiling water.
Sink with cold ice water in it.
Towel or paper towel – to set your beans on to dry.
Fresh garden beans.
Remove the ends of the beans. Wash the beans in cold water to remove any dirt or residue.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. You want to blanch the beans before freezing, this means partially cooking them. Once the water is boiling add the beans to the pot for 3 minutes, (some sources say that the amount of time needed for blanching depends on the size of your beans. 2 minutes for small beans, 3 minutes for medium and 4 minutes for large beans. I generally boil all of my beans for 3 minutes).
Have your sink ready full of cold ice water. Once the beans have cooked for 3 minutes you want to stop the cooking process immediately. Strain out the beans from the boiling water and add them to the sink to cool down. Let sit for at least 3 minutes (same time as boiling).
Place the cooled beans on a towel to dry, you can speed the process up by patting them down with another towel. The beans should be as dry as possible before going into the freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
Place the beans in a freezer bag and seal. Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing, I use the straw method. Place a straw in the bag and seal the bag around it, suck as much air out of the bag through the straw and then seal. When putting the beans in the bag I like to keep them as flat as possible so I can stack the bags of vegetables in the freezer. Add the date you processed the beans on the outside of the bag so you know how old they are.
Put the beans in the freezer and you are done.
This process is quick and easy. During the summer we are freezing produce almost every day, beans mostly since they are our favorite during the winter. Once you are done you have delicious summer beans, preserved for cooler months when you’d like a taste of summer.
How do you preserve beans?