How to Freeze Green Beans

July 26, 2009
The Green Bean patch has started producing really well this week. I have been picking every other day and am getting about a half gallon each time. I estimate that will increase because the plants are blooming like crazy.

I had originally planned on canning the green beans, but then my husband came home and announced that he had been "talking" to people about home canned green beans and "everyone" had told him that it wasn't a good idea. I tried to explain to him that I would be pressure canning them and it would be ok but he is convinced that I will poison us all if I home can the beans so in order to avoid a fight and keep harmony in the household I agreed to freeze them again this year. As it turns out, since Im dealing with relatively small batches right now anyway its just easier to freeze a few bags at a time.

We love fresh green beans, but as all of you know there are times during the year that they are simply not available and at other times, when they are, they are extremely expensive. A few years ago I started freezing beans from the garden so we could have them during the winter and we are always bummed when they run out. I remember when I first tried freezing them I was clueless and probably called my grama a dozen times to find out how to do it so I thought that someone else might appreciate a little tutorial on how to do it. Its so easy. If you have a big pot, a big bowl and freezer bags then you got all you need to do this.

Starting with fresh green beans, these ones were picked over the last few days.

I trimmed off the ends of the beans (great little additions to the compost pile). I like to leave them whole if I can but I do cut the really long ones in half. I then rinsed them really well to get the little bits of dirt and possible bug poop off of them.

Once all the beans are prepped, I drop them into a pot of boiling hot salted water to blanch them. Ive used Kosher salt in the past, but this year I used the pickling/perserving salt that I purchased for the beets. Its a purified salt. Some people dont bother blanching their beans, but I think its a good idea. It deactivates enzymes that might otherwise encourage spoilage and it also preserves the color. I usually leave them in the boiling water for about 2 minutes, just long enough for the pot to come back to a boil and then give it a little stir so that all the beans get to have a chance at the hot tub. Some websites will say to blanch them for 3 minutes, but I have found that if they are in the boiling water for too long they will start to cook and then will end up mushy when you go to use them later and thats not good eating.

After blanching, it is uber important to put them into an ice water bath. This stops the cooking processes immediately. Leave the beans there for atleast as long as you have blanched them for in order to insure they have thoroughly cooled. If they are not completely cooled before being bagged up, well, thats just inviting bacteria to the party and then your family will be accusing you of trying to poison them.

Once they have cooled completely, I spread them out on paper towels to dry them a little bit and I also put them into my salad spinner to get any extra water off as well. I do this because excess water will freeze before the beans do, and that can lead to freezer burn, and Im using a food saver and have found that extra water on the beans prevents the food saver bags from sealing properly.

If you dont have a Food Saver, you can still use quart size freezer bags but try to get as much air out of the bags as you can and then double bag the quarts into gallon bags. I like to measure the beans out in 3 and 4 cup sizes.

There are alot of great sites on the internet with information on how to safely freeze food. I like THIS ONE, but you can always google for others.

So, I froze about 12 cups of green beans this morning in 4 cup portions. I had about a cup left over so I made some refriderator Dilly beans. Using equal portions of water and white vinagar with a bit of sugar and salt as well as some dill seed and 2 cloves of garlic, bring to a boil then pour over the green beans. Chill in the fridge and serve cold. Yummy :)