8/10/14

Freezing green beans


This spring, I planted a row of bush beans. I had a bunch of old seed, and I wasn't sure how fertile they were, so I dumped all of the seed packets into a bowl and spread the seed melange willy-nilly into the row I'd prepared for them.

As it turned out, most of the seed was still fertile, and grew vigorously in the mild, wet weather we've had this year. Consequently, I've ended up with an unprecedented harvest of green beans overall.

This morning, I went out and picked a 5-gallon bucket full. The beans were so fresh and crisp that they snapped off the plant at the stem, so I didn't even need to snap and string most of them when I got them into the house. I just washed them, snapped them in two pieces and threw them in a colander to prepare them to freeze.

To freeze beans, you must first blanch them in boiling water to stop the enzymes and bacteria in the beans from robbing their flavor, nutrients, and color in the freezer.

1. Heat your water to a full rolling boil. I added a pinch of salt.

2. Fill the colander with green beans and slowly submerge in the boiling water. Set the timer for 3-5 minutes. I set it for 5 since I'm at altitude and my beans were huge.

3. When the timer goes off, immediately remove the colander of beans from the boiling water and place it into another pot or bowl of ice water. This prevents the beans from cooking any longer, which might make them soggy or mushy.

4. Empty the beans onto some towels to dry.

5. Repeat as desired. You can reuse the boiling water up to 4 or 5 times. You will need to add more ice to your ice water bath after each batch.

6. When beans are dry, measure the amount of beans you want per bag and vacuum seal.

Alternatively, you can just fill up a few gallon Ziplock freezer bags and use a handful at a time. Store them in the freezer for up to a year.

My family eats frozen green beans all winter long, and home-grown is so much better than store-bought. But I don't need to tell you that!

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