Q. I regularly freeze green beans from my garden, and find the process of blanching them before freezing to be tedious and time consuming. I also don’t like how soft the beans come out after having been frozen that way. I would prefer to freeze my green beans without blanching them, but I’ve been told by my gardening friends that I will ruin them that way. I don’t want to ruin a whole batch of green beans, but I don’t see how it would be such a bad thing to freeze them without blanching them first. Can you freeze fresh green beans without blanching them?
A. That’s an excellent question! There’s no doubt that blanching fresh green beans before freezing is the most common method of freezing them, for a number of reasons. Blanching the beans firsts helps slow down the breakdown of the beans by essentially stopping the degradation process. In addition, blanching the beans helps preserve their bright, beautiful colour. That being said, it is possible to freeze fresh green beans without blanching them.
How do you freeze fresh green beans without blanching them?
First start with the freshest beans you can find. Ideally you will freeze the beans within a few hours of being picked. Wash the beans well and then dry them completely. Pick through the beans carefully and toss any with blemishes or that have holes where insects could have burrowed inside. Cut the ends off the beans and discard.
Then, portion the beans out into the serving sizes you normally need. Place the servings of beans into freezer bags and then lay the bags flat, smoothing out the beans. Gently press out any excess air, then seal the bags. Label and date the bags and then stack them in the freezer. Blanched green beans can last for many months in the freezer, but fresh green beans that have not been blanched have a shorter freezer life. Although the cold will slow down the decomposition process, it will not stop it completely. Therefore, use these beans within two to three months for best results.
To use frozen green beans, remove the bag from the freezer. For use in raw recipes, allow the beans to thaw at room temperature until completely thawed. Then toss in salads or other recipes that require that green bean crunch. To cook, use directly from frozen by placing the green beans in a pot of boiling water.