The green beans started coming in fast last week. It’s amazing how it goes so quickly from, “Ooo, look! Finally enough for a meal!” to this:
This is AFTER giving some away, eating some for dinner, and John mooching out of the just-picked pile when he comes back from his walk in the mornings. Clearly, it’s time to start putting some in the freezer for winter.
I know that all of the books tell you to ‘ freeze the same day you pick for best results,’ but, come on! Really? Ok, maybe if one person gardens and harvests, and another one works in the kitchen… and has nothing else to do… EVERY DAY FOR A MONTH…
Nope. Not happening here. A week’s worth at one time works just fine for me, and there are no complaints about flavor when I pull them out in Darkest January to serve with dinner. Besides, SOME of them were picked that morning!
So, let’s get started. Pick ’em – done. Wash ’em – easy. Trim ’em… I hate this part.
It’s boring, time-consuming, and, unfortunately, necessary. The stem-end is tough, and the blossom-end has an enzyme that will shorten their preserved life, even in the freezer. So, off they go. Plus, you can make the pieces more uniform, if such things matter to you. (It does matter more if you’re going to use rigid freezer containers. Not so much with plastic bags.) Put a big pot of water on to boil and some lively tunes on the radio, and start chopping.
By the time the chopping is done, the water should be at a good rolling boil – unless you chop faster than I do. In which case, get a cold drink and wait while the pot does its thing. Plop the beans into the pot, boil for three minutes, and then…
Drop them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. (Confession – I just use the sink. Sanitized first, of course.) Swirl them around for a minute, then drain.
Pack ’em up in the containers of your choice. I do bags, with 8oz of beans in each, which is a perfect side dish for the two of us. (Yes, a kitchen scale is a big help here, but hardly a necessity. “Eyeballing” it works just fine.)
Then, when Darkest January comes around, there’s a little summer sunshine to get you through.