Beans for the Freezer

Must be bean season...

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:

Holy Cow!

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.

Tops and tails, removed

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.

Blanching

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…

Ice 'em down!

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 your bags!

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.)

Freeze.

Then, when Darkest January comes around, there’s a little summer sunshine to get you through.

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4 thoughts on “Beans for the Freezer

  1. Your green beans look wonderful. Afraid I am a stickler for “canning” green beans rather than freezing–know that is harder and more time-consuming but those jars look so pretty on the shelf…I do freeze peas (purple hull or black eyed). Did you have to “string” the beans also? Down here we like kentucky wonders string beans and that is a time consuming part. I remember many hours “snapping” and “stringing” green beans as a young girl at my mother’s
    insistence. Enjoy your harvest this winter!!

    • If you pick them young, they don’t need ‘stringing,’ but they do if they get any bigger than a pencil. I try to use the tender little ones for my freezer packs. The bigger ones – you know, the ones I missed when they were the right size? – get tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted in the oven.

      I think picking them small has a lot to do with the quality in the freezer, too. I’d love to can some of these bigger ones, but with no one around here to teach me to use a pressure-canner, I’m out of luck for now.

      I’ll admit, those things make me a little nervous!

  2. The beans look wonderful. I wish I could be there in January
    to help eat them. But I think my traveling is over. I can not go like I did. Do you think I am getting old? Surely not
    Love you Nana

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