The Best Way to Freeze Green Beans
When slender green beans are sweet enough to eat off the vine and piled high at the farmers market, you can’t be blamed for buying as much as your arms can hold. What to do with your giant haul? Pickling may be the darling of summer preservation, but it is not the only option for long-term storage. Here’s how to freeze green beans now and enjoy them later.
How to Freeze Green Beans
Whether you’re freezing a few handfuls of beans or a few pounds, the process for freezing green beans is the same, and comes together in three easy steps: Prep, blanch, and freeze.
1. Prep the beans. Begin by rinsing the green beans in a colander under cool running water. If you’ve got the time, trim the ends off one at a time using your fingers. For the rest of us, it’s easier to line a handful of beans up and remove the tips with a single slice. If the tails of the green beans appear limp, turn them and remove those in the same way.
2. Blanch the beans. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the green beans. Boil the beans for three minutes, until bright green and just tender, then shock in an ice bath. Once the beans are completely cool, drain and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
3. Freeze the beans. Spread the green beans in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and freeze. Once the beans are individually frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to three months.
Why Beans Require Blanching
Blanching is the process of quickly cooking foods in boiling water, and then immediately shocking them in ice water to stop the cooking. To properly freeze green beans, you’ll need to blanch them after rinsing them off. The process of blanching helps brighten the color, tenderizes the beans, and stops the stimulation of enzymes that could lead to deterioration. This way, you can keep the beans fresh while they stay in the freezer.
3 Tips for the Best-Quality Frozen Green Beans
- Start with the highest-quality beans. Freezing can’t improve subpar beans — it can only suspend produce in its current place.
- Don’t blanch in salted water. Salted water seasons the vegetables, but it can also soften the cell walls. Avoid mushy green beans by seasoning them when preparing the final dish.
- Freeze in a single layer. The huge benefit of first freezing green beans in a single layer is that when you reach for them later, you won’t have to deal with thawing a green bean-shaped block. Once the beans are frozen solid, then transfer them to a zip-top bag for extended storage.
Try These Recipes with Frozen Green Beans
Once frozen, your green beans can last up to three months in the freezer.
Green beans (any amount)
Zip-top plastic bag
Prepare the beans. Rinse the green beans in a colander under cool water, and then trim the ends off the beans with your fingertips or a sharp knife.
Blanch and cool. Add the beans to a large pot of boiling water and cook for three minutes, until bright green and just tender. Remove and shock in an ice bath.
Freeze. Spread the beans in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and slide into your freezer.
Once the beans are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag, and return to freezer for up to three months.