Fresh cooked green beans are one of the many delights of summer and can bring a touch of summer to winter. Proponents of canning will point out that frozen green beans are at the mercy of electrical outages but those who prefer to freeze their produce point out that freezing is both cheaper and easier. One of the easiest of vegetables to grow in a home garden is green beans and it’s equally easy to freeze. Freezing green beans is simple even for a novice and so whether you grew your own or buy them at a farmer’s market here is a guide to preserving a bit of summer.
Your first inclination might be to wash the beans right away but that is a task best left till later. The first thing to do is refrigerate the beans until you are ready to work on them. Cold beans are easier to snap which is where you begin when you start the freezing process. Using your fingers, pinch off the ends of a bean and then break or “snap” them into desired lengths. Place these “cleaned” beans in a separate container and continue until all of the beans are done or at least all the beans you think you want to freeze that day are done. Dump the snapped beans into a sink of cool water and if you have a double sink lift the beans from the first sink of water into the other sink and drain the first one. If you don’t have a double sink a pot of water can take the place of one sink. Repeat this washing process until you are satisfied with the results.
To blanch, add beans to pot of boiling water making sure they are all covered. Let the beans return to a boil and remain boiling about three minutes. The beans should be a brighter shade of green when it’s time to remove them. Pour the beans or dip them out into a colander and rinse beans with cold water. Let the beans set in sink of cold water; change the water as necessary until the beans are as cold as the water. You want to cool the beans as quickly as possible so if you have ice that will help. Drain the beans removing as much water as is reasonable possible. It isn’t necessary to be obsessive about drying them. Place beans in plastic zip lock bags or seal a meal type bags.
Bacon and onion can be added to the bag if your family enjoys having their beans cooked with them. With the bacon, onion and even a tomato end frozen with the beans, you will be guaranteed all the necessary ingredients for that day next winter when you want to enjoy a little bit of summer.