Freezing fresh summer green beans is an easy and convenient way to preserve them for the long winter days. The process is hardly time consuming and requires fewer tools as opposed to the process of canning. Besides, it maintains the freshness and the nutrition levels of the beans, making it very suitable for their consumption all around the year. It will be all the more better if you have your own garden, with your own green beans. This way, you will be able to select the best varieties and use them for the purpose of freezing. In case you are purchasing the beans from the market or a farm-stand, select the ones that are bright and smooth. Never go for the discolored, pale and yellow beans or the ones that have wrinkles or blemishes. For the highest quality, these beans should be frozen at the peak of freshness. All you require for this is a pot to boil the water, freezer bags or a food saver and a bowl of ice water. And within no time, you will be able to store the beans for a period of about 12 to 18 months in the freezer. Given below is a step by step guidance on freezing and storing fresh green beans for an extended period of time.
How To Freeze Fresh Green Beans
Start by purchasing the best and the freshest green beans that you can get. Never use the ones that are dry, overripe or old. If there is an extended period between harvesting and freezing, put the beans in the refrigerator or put ice over them.
The second step involves thorough washing and cleaning of the beans. This can be done either in plain cold water or lukewarm water, using a strainer or a large colander. Make sure that there are no dirt or dust particles over the beans.
Trim or snap off the ends of the beans to approximately 1/4th of an inch or half the width of an average woman’s little finger, by using a sharp knife. Also, remove any strings present on the surface. Next, cut them into pieces of any desired size or shape. The common preferred bean size is about 1 to 2 inch. You can also make use of a ‘bean-frencher’, which will make your work easier by preparing huge quantities of beans quickly.
In a large stockpot, boil some water and place the beans in it. Ensure that all the beans are completely immersed in the water. Cover the pot and allow the beans to remain immersed in the boiling water for around 3 to 4 minutes. The boiling time should be started as soon as the beans are placed inside the pot.
If you have large quantities of beans to freeze, use a large strainer or colander to fit inside the stockpot or a large pasta-type pot fitted with a basket. Check the level of water at intervals, to ensure that the right level of boiling water is maintained. This process is called blanching and is done to destroy any kind of bacteria or enzymes that can damage the flavor, color, texture and nutritive content of the beans over time.
As soon as the beans are removed from the pot containing the boiling water, place them in a large pot or bowl containing ice cold water. Allow the cooling time to be around 3 to 4 minutes i.e. the same amount of time as the blanching process. When the beans are cooled completely, drain them in a large strainer and spoon them into freezer bags.
Seal these freezer bags completely, by pressing out the air inside and then use a permanent marker to label and date the bags. You can use different types of freezer bags, like vacuum sealing bags, ziploc bags, etc. Finally, pop the bags inside the freezer or the quick freezing shelf.