Friday, 14 August 2015

The best way to freeze beans

At the moment we have beans coming in from the garden by the basketful.  Runner, French, climbing, yellow, green, speckled - so many, but far too many to eat, so I need to preserve them.  The French will be busy bottling theirs but I am not keen, knowing the risks of botulism from badly bottled vegetables.  I prefer to freeze them.  I know some people say that frozen beans are nothing like fresh ones but ever since I have been using the following method for freezing and then cooking beans I can say they are much closer to freshly cooked ones.

Runner beans

Freezing Runner and French Beans

  1. Cut the beans into what-ever shapes you prefer.  I like long thin diamonds for runner beans and beans of various lengths for French.  I always also do some in very short lengths that are great for throwing into vegetable and minestrone soups.
  2. Blanch the beans in unsalted boiling water for 1 minute.  
  3. Plunge them into cold water, to cool, as quickly as possible.
  4. Drain very well.
  5. Flash freeze - placing the frozen beans all together in one bag means you need to use the whole bag at once.  By flash freezing you can use just as many as you want.
  6. Place the beans on a freezable tray and dry a bit more with a clean tea towel.
  7. Freeze until solid and then knock off the beans off the trays into freezer bags, breaking up any that have stuck together.  This was you will get free flowing frozen beans.

Runner beans about to be flash frozen

To cook beans from frozen

  1. Boil a pan of water and also boil a kettle full of water.
  2. Drop the beans in the boiling water and immediately drain them. 
  3. Return the beans to the pan, add the freshly boiled water and a pinch of salt then boil to your preferred level of softness.  The shorter the cooking time, generally, the better the taste.
Have you any tips of freezing or preserving beans?   I also blogged about pickled Runner beans which you might like but I would love some more ideas.

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