How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans. During the height of summer, green bean plants often produce more beans than one can eat fresh. So why not freeze some of your garden fresh green beans so you can enjoy them in the winter? Freezing is the easiest, safest ways to preserve produce and it doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. Here’s how to do it.
Things You'll Need
Pick green beans (also called wax or string beans) when the pods are tender and 4 to 6 inches long. Be sure to pinch the beans off the plant-rather than tugging-to prevent breaking the plants’ stems. During the height of summer you may need to harvest daily.
Place the beans in a colander and wash them under cool, fresh water. Snap off their stems and ends and set them aside. Then, fill your sink with ice water and bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.
Before you freeze your beans, it’s important to blanch (boil the vegetables for a few minutes). This process stops the enzymes that break down the beans’ nutrients, flavor and texture. To blanch beans, place them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Then, immediately transfer them to an ice water bath to stop them from cooking any further. I like to load about 2 cups of beans into a pasta colander insert. This makes blanching easier because I can easily move the beans in and out of the boiling water. If you don’t have a pasta insert, work in small batches and move the beans from the pot to the ice bath with a large, slotted spoon.
Dry the vegetables off and then arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer. As soon as the beans freeze solid, remove the trays from the freezer and pack the beans into freezer bags, leaving a half inch of room between the top of the beans and the bag’s closure. Freezing the beans prior to packing helps prevent them from sticking together.
Avoid freezer burn by squeezing out as much of the air from the bag as possible while sealing it. Then, label the bags with the date frozen and immediately place them in the freezer. The beans should keep in the freezer for up to one year.