Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Frozen Green Beans

The fruit of yesterday's labors-7 quarts of green beans for the freezer! I will probably will do some more beans later this week; there were so many still hanging on in the garden. I would like to preserve 20-25 quarts in all.

I followed the easy instructions for blanching and freezing in my Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving. This is an invaluable resource if you are serious about canning and preserving-it tells you everything you would ever need to know!

If you don't have access to this book or any other canning instruction manual or wealth of knowledge(like a mom, aunt or grandma), here are the instructions for freezing your own green beans.

You can freeze any amount of beans-a little or a lot. Snip ends and break beans into halves or thirds or leave whole if you like it that way. Wash beans in cold water.

Meanwhile, put on a big pot of water to boil. Having a strainer or colander that fits in the pot to hold the beans under water while boiling will really help. I used my large metal strainer.

Prepare either one side of the sink or a large dishpan with ice cold water. Using large ice chunks is a better idea than little ice cubes because they don't melt as fast. (Plan ahead and freeze plastic or stainless steel bowls of water the night before.)Keep extra ice cubes and chunks back as you will need to replenish as the ice melts and water gets warm again.

When your water is at a full boil, immerse a small batch of prepared green beans in the water(keep in the strainer or colander for ease in removing quickly). Time for 3 minutes. When time is up, remove from boiling water immediately and dump beans in ice water. (It is very important that the water is icy, icy cold!)When beans are completely cool, remove to another bowl to continue cooling.(You can put ice in this bowl as well.) Drain beans well and pack into freezer bags or containers.

Repeat process with remaining green beans. As you work, you will get your own rhythm. I keep the beans going and package them all at the same time at the end.

Happy freezing!

Edited to add: I've had questions about how I cook these after freezing. I steam them for about 15 minutes or until soft. Remember they are pretty much still raw so they need to be cooked well. We like them this way. Frozen beans have a different texture than canned. We prefer frozen to canned but not everyone does, including some of our family members! Feel free to add your personal preference for cooking frozen beans.


Lyn said...

Hi Mary Ann!
Nice to see you back - you were missed.

Really enjoying your posts on your preserving your bounty. Your produce looks wonderful! And thanks for sharing your menu/list - I need a little boost with that myself as I haven't been wanting to cook with the heat.

God bless, Lyn

Wilma said...

I agree, the Ball Blue Book is a must have for anyone even slightly interested in preserving fruits and veggies. I was given one as a wedding gift and have given some as gifts as well. I usually can my beans as I have limited freezer space and we like them better that way.

thehomespunheart said...

Beautiful! A good day's work!!!

carrie said...

Mary Ann,

Thank you for this timely post. I did this last year and couldn't remember the process. We've just harvested our own green beans and received more from a friend, so I need to get to this next week. A 90-year-old friend of ours takes this a step further by first freezing the beans on cookie sheets before bagging so they don't stick together. Worked well for us last year.

Strangely, I only had two wisdom teeth--for which I am thankful, though of course it's not a fun procedure regardless. I called for an app't on Wednesday and they had an opening Friday. I decided to get it over with as quickly as possible!

Because they only use local anesthesia on adults (at least here), I opted to have some laughing gas. Though it felt strange, it helped me relax, which was important to me. Hope all goes well for you!

*carrie* said...

Mary Ann,

Not sure if you're still checking your comments, but I had a question. I froze my beans according to these instructions.

When I prepared them, they were really soggy and kind of funny tasting. I'm curious how you prepare your beans from freezer to table. Thanks!