Today I picked four and a half pounds of green beans! That’s more than I’ve ever yielded from one harvest out of my backyard garden. Now it’s time to freeze them so we can enjoy them this winter. At the end of this post I will explain my process for freezing green beans. There are others out there, but this is what works for me.
Back in April, I installed a piece of flexible 4”x4” wire paneling, similar to a cattle panel, to create an arch between two of my beds this year.
I planted Ed Hume Seeds and chose to use Kentucky Blue Pole beans in one bed and Blue Lake Pole beans in the other bed. The Kentucky Blues rapidly shot up the side of the arch and sent out long runners feeling their way across the top before grabbing on, spiraling around the wire and then leafing out.
The Blue Lake beans had a slower start because they were shaded by the lettuce and peas I had growing in the bed before they were planted. Once they got tall enough to stand above the lettuce though, they did the same thing as the Kentucky beans. Their long runners came out searching for something to grab onto. They grew fast and met the Kentucky beans in the middle of the arch. Then the two varieties took a hold of each other, twisted around each other and began flowering.
The hummingbirds did a tremendous job pollinating all of these beans. I really give them a lot of credit for my bountiful harvest. These tiny birds seemed to enjoy visiting the beans because they were under the arch in the shade while they worked and they were able to perch on the wire to rest when they needed a little break. Its so fun to watch them!
The beans have grown up and over the arch creating a beautiful architectural feature in the garden and an easy way to pick beans. They’re all hanging down easy to grab!
My preferred way to preserve green beans is by freezing them. Freezing locks in more of that fresh green bean flavor than canning does. In the winter when we’re craving fresh food, thawing out some summer beans really helps remind us that winter is temporary and one day it will be warm again!
I like to blanch my beans before freezing to stop enzyme production and to preserve the fresh flavor of the beans. It also turns them a bright green color that’s very appetizing.
I put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Then I rinsed all of the green beans and trimmed off the stem end of each bean. When the water was boiling, I grabbed a big handful of beans and plopped them carefully into the water. Using some metal tongs, I moved them around so the hot water could get to every bean. After just a minute they turned bright green and I was satisfied they were blanched.
Next, I transferred the beans from the boiling water to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. After moving them around in the ice water so they could all cool, I used the tongs to take them out and place them on a towel on a cookie sheet.
Once on the cookie sheet, I straightened them all out so they were facing the same direction, left to right. Then I shook the cookie sheet front to back to get them to roll back and forth on the towel to dry. I set up a fan in front of them to help the drying process. I let them sit in front of the fan, occasionally shaking them, for about an hour.
Once they were fairly dry, I put them into labeled freezer bags, squeezed out all of the air and placed them in the freezer.
I’m happy with this process and am looking forward to having fresh-tasting green beans this winter when I need them most.
How do you preserve green beans? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!