We love our green beans at the Mountain Farmhouse. This is why we grow so many of them. I start them early from seed in the greenhouse, and I direct sow some of them a few weeks later right in the garden. We preserve them so we can enjoy them all winter long. Sometimes we can them. Sometimes we freeze them. This year I’m doing more freezing than canning, so read on to learn about the best way to freeze green beans.
Growing Green Beans
We grow a few different varieties of green beans here at the Mountain Farmhouse every year. My personal favorite is Blue Lake. It is a bush bean variety, so I don’t have to put up a trellis, and I don’t have to pull strings off of the sides before cooking them.
Other favorite varieties of ours include:
Golden Wax (These are actually yellow, not green) Bush Bean
Royal Burgundy (These are actually purple, not green, but they turn green when cooked) Bush Bean
Trionfo Violetto (Like the Royal Burgundy, these are actually purple, not green, but then turn green when cooked) Runner Bean
Tar Heel Runner Bean (Stringy)
Margaret Best “Greasy” Cut-Short Runner Bean (Stringy)
Small Lazy Wife Runner Bean (Stringy)
Choosing the Beans
If you don’t grow your own beans, it’s fun to find a farmer’s market and buy them in a large quantity to preserve. Choose the most firm, crisp, and fresh that you can find.
If you do grow your own beans, pick them right before you plan to preserve them, if at all possible.
If you are growing your own and they’ve become rubbery, you can leave them on the plant and let them dry out. Then, save the dried bean seeds to either plant next year or make some soups, stews, or chili this winter.
Wash and Trim the Beans
Once you’ve gathered your beans, wash them in cold water.
Next, pat them dry gently. This makes it easier to keep them from slipping around.
I pluck out one handful of beans at a time and line them up on the cutting board to trim the stem ends.
Some people like to trim both ends of the beans. It’s totally up to you and your personal preference.
Another way to trim them is to simply snap off the ends with your fingers.
If your beans are the stringy variety, you may want to remove the strings from the sides when you remove the ends. This makes for a more pleasant gastronomic experience, in my opinion!
Cut up the Beans (optional)
Next, either snap them into smaller pieces with your fingers or chop them on the cutting board.
I like to make my bean pieces about 1″-2″ long.
To be honest, it has been my experience that the smaller pieces are easier to work with after freezing.
Recipes like soups, sautes, stir-fries, and casseroles all work well with chopped, smaller pieces of beans than with whole beans.
Of course, though, if you like the beans whole, leave them long.
Or leave them long anyway. You can actually chop them up after they are frozen, but chopping them before just saves a step when ready to cook.
Prepare to blanch!
Set up a big bowl with cold water and ice cubes.
Get some boiling water with salt going on the stove. I use a large stew pot filled about 3/4 of the way with water and about one tablespoon of salt
Once you have a full, rolling boil going, sink the prepared beans into the salted water until they are very bright green. This will not take long! Keep your eye on them.
Drain the beans and plunge them into the bowl of icy water. This can easily be achieved by using a slotted spoon taking them directly from the stove.
Let them cool a few seconds in the ice-water bath.
**Farmhouse Tip – This blanching step helps the beans retain flavor and color while frozen.
Best Way to Freeze Green Beans
Plunge them into boiling, salted water until they are bright green.(very short amount of time – keep your eye on them) After that, I drain them and allow to cool enough to handle. This can be achieved by plunging into ice water for a few seconds.
Drain, either with a slotted spoon or a colander.
Then put the beans in freezer-appropriate containers labeled with date. I would also label the containers with the amount of beans, like “2 Cups,” or “1 Pint.”
I’ve seen recommendations for using the beans before 8 months are up. We generally use them up way before that, because, well, we love beans!
Serving Size: 3/4 Cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 1.5g
For another way to preserve green beans, check out THIS POST – “BEANS! SPICED, PICKLED, AND DILLY”
Enjoy your beans!