Green beans are a wonderful option to grow in your garden, but if you want to freeze green beans, it’s important to avoid some common issues. In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to do it properly so you can enjoy your home-grown green beans year-round.
How to Freeze Green Beans From the Garden
If you’re wondering if it’s okay to freeze green beans while fresh, we’ve got good news for you. You absolutely can freeze them, and the process isn’t too complicated. They can last months in the freezer, so even when green bean season is over, you can still use your frozen green beans in a variety of stew, stir-fry, and casserole dishes.
1. Trim the Ends of the Green Beans
The first thing you’ll want to do is carefully wash the green beans with tap water. Cool water is best for this. You can chop the stems off of one green bean at a time, but it’s quicker and easier to line up the stems of a small handful, then use a sharp knife to carefully slice through the stems.
Some gardeners also prefer to chop off the tail ends of their green beans, but that’s a personal choice. Repeat this process until you’re done. As an additional note, there are some green bean varieties that have a fiber running along the pod. If your variety has this fiber string, it’s a good idea to remove it during this step.
2. Optional Step: Chop the Green Beans
If you’re planning on using them for soup, or other dishes that require them to be cut, now’s a good opportunity to chop them up ahead of time. One-inch slices are usually an ideal length, and it can cut down on your prep time when you pull them out later.
Of course, keeping them whole is perfectly fine too, you can always cut them after you’ve thawed them for use.
3. Don’t Skip Blanching
Blanching is a pretty simple step, but a very important one not to skip if you want to keep the beans from losing their flavor and color once you freeze them. The first thing you’ll want to do is grab a large pot of water and bring it up to a boil. For each pound of green beans, plan to use about a gallon of water.
As you’re waiting on your water, you can use the time to get a large bowl of ice water ready. Once your water is boiling, carefully submerge the green beans into it and let them boil. Large beans will want about four minutes of boiling, whereas small beans only need two, so if you want to separate your beans by size that may be helpful when it comes to this step.
Ice and Drain
Once the boiling time is up, quickly remove them and put them right in that ice water bath. Once cooled, you can drain them.
4. Package Them
Once your beans are drained, it’s time to package them. You’ll want to pick containers that are freezer-friendly, or storage bags, for this task. A general rule of thumb is each quart container can handle one and a half to two and a half pounds of green beans. If you’re using a jar, add handfuls of beans at a time and shake the jar to compact them.
You should leave about a half-inch between the packaged beans and the top of the jar once you’re done. If you’re using storage bags, gently press out as much air as you can. Make sure you wipe off any condensation from your containers before slipping your green beans into the fridge. Freezer tape can be used to get an especially tight seal.
5. Label and Pop Them In!
Labels are an affordable way to easily keep track of the green beans you have stored per container and the date that they were frozen. This will help keep waste down to a minimum since you can use the oldest green beans first. Leaving some space around your containers or bags can help them freeze faster.
Once everything’s properly frozen, you can stack them up right next to each other if you need more freezer space. Frozen green beans can be expected to keep their bright flavor for about eight months. Enjoy!
Running Low on Recipe Ideas? Great Uses for Frozen Green Beans
If you’re afraid of finding yourself with a freezer full of beans and a family that’s sick of them, changing up recipes can help make them exciting again.
There isn’t much better than a warm mug of soup on a cold night. You can fill the soup with goodies grown from your own garden, which is an extremely rewarding experience. Soup is very versatile, and baking some delicious bread to dip can add a whole new layer to the experience.
Green Beans and Shallots
Shallots and green beans are a match made in heaven. The flavors complement each other, making this a simple but very enjoyable dish.
Pop Them in a Skillet
If you enjoy the classic mix of chicken and rice, adding green beans will enhance your flavors and bring some extra life to the dish. This one tends to be a crowd-pleaser, and the leftovers store well in the fridge too.
So Many Casserole Options
For every green bean casserole you’ve heard of, there are probably five you haven’t. Some like to pair their green beans up with tuna and mushrooms, while others prefer a more classic take. No matter how you like them, casseroles are easy, delicious, and especially great for the holidays.
Green Beans and Bacon
What doesn’t pair well with bacon? Not much. There are several different casseroles and dishes that use the fat and flavor of bacon to bring their green bean-eating experience to the next level.
Bring Out the Pasta
Almost anything goes with pasta, and green beans are no exception. You can pop the green beans and pasta in to cook together, making this an easy option. If you have some potatoes around, you can make the ever-popular pesto pasta and potato mix.
Garlic and Green Beans Pair Well
If you’re looking to add a different flavor profile to your green beans, garlic is a great way to do it. Then you can enjoy them as-is or combine them with another dish.
This heart-warming dish can be made many different ways. The fresh, bright flavor of green beans can help prevent the dish from being too “heavy” and can put those frozen green beans to good use.
Yes, muffins. If you have some leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving, green beans can be mixed in there to make a delicious savory muffin filling.
If you find yourself in the position of feeding picky eaters, hiding green beans in some homemade tater tots can be a great compromise. They’ll be able to enjoy a tasty treat, and you’ll know they’re getting some greens in them.
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