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.
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.