It’s simple to freeze green beans, even if you are new to cooking. They are one of the best vegetables to freeze because they do an excellent job of maintaining their flavor and texture once they are cooked.
When you use frozen green beans in recipes, you don’t have to hide them among other vegetables in a soup or beef stew; they can be the star of a side dish just as easily as fresh green beans during summer!
Can I Freeze Raw Green Beans or Do I Need to Blanch Them?
First of all: freeze green beans that are as fresh as possible. Make sure that there are no deep blemishes on the skin that could indicate that they are beginning to go bad. Trim the beans before you freeze them to make preparation during cooking much easier and far less time consuming.
It’s tempting to skip blanching when freezing vegetables, but if you want your food to maintain its best qualities, blanching is extremely important. Blanching isn’t simply an extra step meant to waste your time; the process destroys enzymes that change the color, flavor, and texture of frozen vegetables. The process also cleans dirt and impurities from the surface of vegetables and slows the loss of nutrients.
You can freeze raw green beans, but there is a greater chance that when you cook with them, they will be mushy with less flavor. If you are going to go to the work of trimming and freezing beans for long term storage, it’s worth it to blanch them, too.
Should I Trim Green Beans Before Freezing?
The size of green beans that you freeze is completely up to your personal preference. Always be sure to trim the stem end. If the bottom end appears dried, trim that, too. After that, you can leave them long for side dishes that feature green beans or cut them into small pieces for soups and stews.
If you have a lot of green beans to freeze, it might be worth it to freeze different sizes and cuts so that you can use them for several different recipes throughout the year.
How Long Can I Keep Green Beans in the Freezer?
Green beans will keep in the freezer for 10 to 12 months. If this is your first time freezing green beans, be sure to check them along the way. The steps here help to reduce the incidence of freezer burn, but it’s a learning opportunity to use up your green beans over the course of a year. This helps you become familiar with how they taste as they freeze for longer periods of time.
Do Frozen Green Beans Need to Be Thawed Before Using?
It all depends on the recipe. If your recipe calls for you to thaw them, then definitely do so. Otherwise, it’s not required. This is especially true when adding them to vegetable soup, curry, or chickpea stews. You can simply add them straight from the freezer bag.
This is another reason why it helps to know the size of green beans you will use most often before you freeze them. Having ready-cut green beans right out of the freezer makes cooking so much easier.
Recipes That Use Frozen Green Beans
Green Bean Freezing Instructions
- Prepare the green beans. Rinse the beans under cool running water and drain. Trim the stem ends with a sharp knife. Trim the bottom end if desired. Then, cut the green beans to your preferred size or leave them long - your choice.
- Blanch the green beans. Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, a general rule for blanching is 1 gallon of water per 1 pound of vegetables. Bring it to a boil over high heat. While it comes to a boil, fill a large bowl with ice and water. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to place the beans in the boiling water. Once it returns to a boil, cook for 3 minutes. Immediately remove them from the boiling water and place them in the ice water for 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean dish towel placed over a sheet pan and dry well.
- Chill the green beans. Place the beans in a single layer on a baking sheet and put it in the freezer for 1 hour. This step ensures the beans are thoroughly chilled before you store them in the freezer bags, helping prevent freezer burn.
- Freeze the green beans: Place the beans in quart-size freezer bags. Fill the bag about 3/4 full so that you can flatten them slightly to stack in the freezer. Squeeze out any excess air as you secure the seal. Label and date each bag, then place them in the freezer for up to 12 months.