WHY PRESERVE YOUR home-grown (or farmer’s market) produce? First, because these veggies are pesticide-free. Next, having a stash of healthy food in the freezer reduces expensive, fuel-consuming trips to the supermarket. Finally, who doesn’t want to savor the taste of summer during the depths of winter? Here is my easy method for freezing green beans:
A Note on Blanching. To eliminate the enzymes which can alter the flavor of green beans (and other veggies)and turn them into mush when frozen, it is necessary to blanch them first. When you “blanch,” you boil the beans briefly, then immediately plunge them into ice water.
Only Tender Beans, Please. Start with fresh green beans, which are neither too young nor too old. Old beans, fresh or frozen, are woody in texture. Believe me, they are not good eating.
Boiling. Drop the beans into the pot of boiling water; cover, and cook for exactly 3 minutes. Timing begins the moment the beans hit the water.
Chilling. Now, plunge the beans into ice water. I use a big slotted spoon to transfer the veggies from hot water to cold. Chill for exactly 3 minutes.
Freezing and Bagging. Flash freeze on the baking sheet for an hour or more. Then transfer the beans to zip-lock freezer bags. You might limit, as I do, the amount per bag to one serving per family member. Because I am a family of 2, I place one cup in each one-quart bag. In any event, do not overfill bags. When the bag lays flat in the freezer, the beans should form a single layer.
Vacuum-Sealing. To avoid freezer burn, express all air from the bag. I remove air by partially sealing the bag, inserting a drinking straw, and sucking. This is a primitive way to vacuum seal, I know, but it does seem to work. Maybe you are lucky enough to have an electric vacuum-sealer. I aspire to own one.
Properly blanched and frozen, green beans will provide a year of good eating.
If you have other good freezing-tips (or if you wish to laugh at my drinking-straw-vacuum-technique), by all means speak your mind in the comment field below.
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