Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blanching and freezing green beans

I can't really remember when I learned to "put up" or freeze green beans. I remember watching and then helping my mother stock the freezer with a winter's supply of them from a very young age. I can't really remember not knowing how it was done.

Preparing the beans was not my favorite chore. We would take a mound of beans, string them and then break them in small pieces and then wash them. Above is a sink full of green beans ready for washing and blanching.

I usually wash them at least twice or until the rinse water looks clean after washing them.

The green beans are then transferred to a pan and covered with cold water. I turn the burner on high and wait for the green beans to turn bright green--which means the beans are not cooked but heated until they are a temperature that keeps them from maturing any further so the optimum taste can be preserved.

I watch them closely because if they get too done, they can become mushy when cooked. I love therattlesnake beans because the red stripping disappears when they are ready and they become a bright green color.

Usually they are just beginning to boil when done.

I remove them from the heat and get ready for the next step. Draining them and cooling them quickly.

I pour them into a large colander and drain off the hot water. Meanwhile I fill the sink with cold water.

 And add ice.

 I dump all the beans into the water until they are cool and then transfer them back to the colander to drain.

See they are the perfect color. If you wish, you can spin them in a salad spinner to drain off the water. I don't do this because I always add a little water to the beans when I cook them. If there is water in the frozen beans it usually doesn't matter too much. I just add less water in the cooking.

I then load up the freezer bags with green beans and label the package with the contents and the date. I immediately take the bags to the freezer and stack them as neatly as possible. I don't usually disturb them until I need to cook them--usually for a dinner meal.

When I need the green beans, I take them out of the freezer and put them in a large sauce pan. No need to thaw. I turn them on high until they are defrosted and then cook them on medium until they are just the way I like them. I might add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and salt and pepper to taste. We always love our fresh green beans. They are the closest thing to fresh you can get and last year I had just enough green beans in the freezer to last until our new crop came in.

No comments:

Post a Comment