Forget Blanching When You Freeze Green Beans
Here I go, breaking the rules… AGAIN
First it was peas, then squash and now, for the second year in a row, it’s how to freeze green beans. Actually, I’m just following Granny’s rules instead of “their rules”. I’ve never been sure who “they” were anyway.
As I’ve mentioned several times before, Granny was half Comanche, and did things differently than the norm. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize that she was one smart lady! So I’ve adopted the rule, that if something worked for her, it’ll work for me.
One of the things she taught me was that if there’s an easier way to do something and get the same or better results, do it.
Well, when it comes to canning and freezing food, I’ve developed a KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) version for dealing with preserving food.
- Eliminate super time-consuming methods and seemingly unnecessary steps (Ain’t nobody got time for that when you’ve got a bazillion bushels of food to put up…)
- Stop using boatloads of sugar to preserve fresh fruit… there IS a better way.
Obviously, there are some food items that you just CAN’T break the rules, because it could impact the safety of the food. But, peas, squash and green beans, are still completely safe to eat without spending the time to blanch them before freezing them.
Canning Green Beans vs Freezing Green Beans
Whether you can or freeze green beans is strictly a personal preference. Some folks like the taste and texture of canned beans, while others prefer frozen ones.
Personally? I prefer frozen green beans… I think they have a fresher taste, and less nutrient loss than canning. Plus, it’s easier and I don’t have to heat the kitchen to can them.
Granny never had a freezer, so she had to can everything, but I feel certain if she had had a freezer, she would definitely have kept if full!
But if you do decide to freeze them, there’s the issue of whether or not to blanch them… and that’s where my breaking the rules comes in.
Should You Blanch Green Beans?
When you freeze green beans, it’s always been recommended that you blanch them first. And, for those who aren’t familiar with blanching, it’s when you boil the food for several minutes, then plunge it into ice water to cool it down, drain it, then freeze it.
And, that’s my problem… it’s an extra step, and I don’t like extra steps. Besides, if you have a big bunch of green beans to freeze, it takes forever, because you can only blanch a few at a time.
Supposedly, blanching keeps it from losing its flavor and color.
Granny never even blanched anything before she canned it! So last year I did the unthinkable… I froze my green beans without blanching them.
And guess what? There’s a couple of packages left, and it’s been almost a year. The color is still good and the one’s I’ve cooked tasted great. So, I’ll skip blanching for good.
Here’s how to freeze green beans without blanching:
The most important part is to start with good beans. The bigger, tougher beans just don’t freeze well. They’re the ones that feel hollow and sorta woody when you try to snap the ends off. Cook those for dinner tonight. Just freeze the freshest and most tender green beans.
First, snap off the ends, and either break the beans into smaller pieces or leave them whole (which is what I prefer).
Wash and drain thoroughly. Pat dry with a towel.
Spread them out in a single layer on the baking sheet that’s lined with wax paper, and flash freeze for 30-60 minutes.
Remove them from the baking sheet, and place in a large freezer bag.
Put one end of a straw in the baggie, suck out as much air as possible, remove the straw quickly and seal off the straw opening.
Label, and put them back in the freezer.
NOTE: If you’re not sure that your freezer bags will keep all the air out… then run a piece of freezer tape across the top of the bag. Rather be safe than sorry.
When you’re ready to cook the green beans, grab what you want out of the bag, reseal it, boil them ‘til tender, season, and that’s it. Fresh-from-the-garden-flavor in the dead of winter… or anytime.
So that’s how to freeze green beans using my break-the-rules method.
FYI: Sucking the air out of the bag before freezing, keeps ice crystals from forming which cuts the freeze shelf-life down.
Also: If you don’t use all the green beans in a bag, be sure to suck the air out and reseal it. Depending on your family size, you might consider using quart freezer bags rather than gallon sized.
Do you can or freeze green beans? Do you blanch them beforehand?
I used scotch tape last year to seal my bags, but it didn’t hold very well, So I started using this freezer tape… which you can also write on.
Do you have blackberries yet? Ours are really cranking up, so yesterday I made these sugar free Oat Whole Wheat Blackberry Muffins. I’m thinking they would be good with peaches too. Will have to try that and let you know.