The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Three Minutes to Frozen Green Beans

September 4th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Posted in garden

Soemtimes you have to save your beans for later

Soemtimes you have to save your beans for later

I’m a big believer in eating what’s ripe in the garden. That may mean eating lot of okra, or squash, or tomatoes at any given time. But sometimes, if your garden is as big as ours is, the amount of produce coming ripe is overwhelming. It’s times like this I wish we had a chest freezer. Except there’s no room in our urban dwelling for a chest freezer. (I don’t think they even had electricity when our house was built. They didn’t even have closets.)

Fortunately, our horrible Tappan refrigerator died recently and we were forced to purchase a new one with more freezer space. Thus, we now have room for the bumper crop of green beans growing on our 14-foot-long trellis. As I’ve said before, you have to stay on top of your pole beans or they quickly pass the tender stage and skip right to the stringy stage. I get howls of protest from the rest of the family whenever I slip up and serve stringy beans.

Yesterday I harvested a huge bowl full of beans and set to work preparing them for the freezer. This is not at all difficult, but it is time consuming. After cleaning the beans, cut them into lengths of about 1 1/2 inches, or to a size you like to serve at the table. Discard any beans that are over-ripe and tough. It’s not always easy to tell which beans these are: usually they’re the ones with bulging beans or skins that are beginning to fade. My method is to cut into them with a serrated knife. If they resist the knife at all, or make a sound like cutting into paper, I toss them in the compost bucket.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the beans in batches for three minutes. Remove them with a strainer (I use my Chinese “spider,” but you could also use a pot with a strainer insert) and transfer to a bowl of cold water in the sink to stop the cooking process.

When all of the beans are blanched and cooled, drain them thoroughly  and pack them into freezer bags. I like to divide them into sandwich-size bags, each representing one dinner’s worth of beans. Label the bags and arrange them in the freezer. You’ll feel like a genius in February when you’re able to serve your own home-grown beans for dinner.

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  • Steph

    Just wanted to add this nifty bit of info, if you freeze them in a flat layer on a cookie sheet and then bag them up, they stay seperated in the freezer bags. We like this for times when we’re having stir fry and only need a handful. Thanks for the quick and simple explanation!