Freezing Green Beans
Freezing green beans when they are in season is a good way to preserve bountry from the garden. One of the signs that warmer weather has finally rescued you from winter is harvesting green beans from your garden, or for those who don't have a green thumb, scoring some green beans at the farmers market.
Choose the freshest green beans. Prepare the green beans like our grandmothers did, by gathering the kids around and having them snap off the ends while telling them stories of how far you had to walk to school, uphill both ways. Be sure to have them throw out any blemished or shriveled beans. Of course, you will want to wash the beans well. If you don't have help or the patience for snapping off the ends simply line the green beans up and lop off the ends.
Blanching is best. Simply place them in boiling water for about three minutes. This kills any bacteria on the beans and halts any enzymatic action that could affect flavor and texture. To keep the color, pull out the beans and plunge them into a sink or large bowl of ice water. Drain and dry the beans and place them in zippered plastic freezer bags or vacuum sealed bags. It is important when freezing green beans to remove as much air as possible to keep freezer burn from forming. To be as green as you can, and for nostalgia's sake, use the freezer containers that you may have inherited from an older relative instead of buying plastic bags.
Sign your work. Label the package to avoid mysterious frozen blocks in your freezer. Use a permanent marker to label the bag with the name of the contents and the date frozen. This will help you to rotate the food in your freezer so you are always using the oldest items first. Use the green beans within nine to twelve months for best results. If you have more than a year's supply then do as your granny taught you and share them with a neighbor.
Cook the green beans simply. When eating the beans, simply place the vacuum bag into boiling water for about five minutes. If using a freezer bag, then empty the beans into a steamer or boiling water and cooking until you have the desired tenderness. You can add them directly to stir fry or casseroles. However you cook them, be sure to take a deep breath and remember summer.