Saturday, July 3, 2010

Steaming Green Beans for the Freezer

Growing up, my mom always canned beans. But my husband was accustomed to frozen beans. Freezing beans was certainly easier then pressure canning beans and probably healthier since they are not cooked so long. But canned beans were so simple to get out and serve and sometimes my frozen beans had an unpleasant rubbery texture. So I did both methods.

Last year a friend shared how she steamed her green beans. She thought they were fresher tasting and less rubbery then blanched beans. I followed her directions last year and we really liked the taste of the beans. And it was SO simple! I didn't even have to wait for a big pot of water to boil! I'm not sure I'd want to use this technique if I had bushels of beans but for a few it worked quite well.

We started picking a few beans this week and I tried taking pictures  of the process. The steam made it a little difficult to see.

I chose a large pot, placed 1/4 cup of water in the bottom, put on the lid and turned the heat to high.

As soon as the water boiled (it didn't take long) I threw in a couple hand fulls of beans and shut the lid. I just wanted an inch or so of beans.

After a few seconds, I opened the lid and stirred the beans, and shut the lid again.

Repeat stirring every few seconds until the bean's color turns to bright green, only 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Then dump the beans into cold water.

The process really takes longer to explain then to do!

Once the beans are cool, place them in freezer bags and freeze.

If you have lots of beans, you could have more then one pot going at a time.

This year we are trying something different with our beans. Most years I plant a large patch, which gives us buckets of beans until I'm sick and tired of beans and pull out the plants, then eat out of the freezer or jars for the rest of summer.

This year, I planted only a short row or two, but planted every few weeks for a extended harvest time. My goal is to pick a few for a meal, steam a few extra for the freezer, and slowly (hopefully painlessly) get enough for winter without a huge "Bean Day". By eating fresh for a longer period of time, we will be eating beans at their optimum freshness and vitamin level. I'll let you know if it works!

How do you do beans?

Linked to the Tuesday Garden Party.

10 comments :

  1. I've always blanched them ~ but what if you used the blancher with less water (below the basket) and steam them that way? I don't have any beans to try this :-( And I am so hungry for a handful of raw garden beans! =)

    We are usually very happy with blanched beans. The only time my blanched beans were not good, the beans were late ones ~ after a long dry period or something ~ in September. And I didn't know the variety since they came to us second-hand from an organic producer ~ or how long they'd been picked before we got them, etc...

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  2. That sounds like such an easy way to try it out! Once the fresh beans start rollin' in I'm going to give this a try ...

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  3. I have friends that steam/blanch but have never tried it myself. I always can mine ut am going to attempt freezing some this year. Canned food is SO convienent for me so I usually stick to canning.

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  4. We are currently growing beans and got a late start on them. I really wanted to learn more about canning beans. That said, when I go t the supermarket to buy some, its the frozen ones I buy. Thanks for posting this.

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  5. We don't have a lot of freezer space, so canning is more convenient for me too. Sometimes I run some through the bean frencher and can them that way. Since it's just the two of us, I did two short rows which should be enough for the year.

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  6. I've always canned them - I've never had the freezer room. Right now I'll be happy to have any beans to eat - let alone put some up! :)

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  7. I haven't grown beans yet, but just got a large bag from a co-worker today. I'll try this process to make sure none go to waste. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Just stoppin' by from TGP. I enjoy canning green beans, but I'm afraid we won't have too many left over after what I fix for dinner. This could be a great idea, if I only have a small batch to but away. (beats getting out all my canning gear.) thanks for the idea.

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  9. Goodness, I go through the SAME thing- grew up with canned & not fond of "rubbery" frozen! That said, I've been freezing for the past couple years as my kids have turned their noses up to canned beans lately. I'm SO happy to learn this technique! Now, it's just a wait for the beans (I'll look forward to hearing how the beans did for you with the staggered planting!).

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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