We don’t really can food at our house. Except for tomato sauce, the summer bounty we gather is preserved in one of our freezers. Freezing keeps more of the food’s nutrition, and we like the taste of frozen food better than canned! Here’s how I freeze green beans. And stay tuned at the end for a freezer organization tip from a family of seven. 😉
1. Get your counters set up. To do this quickly and efficiently (which isn’t really necessary if you just have a quart or two to freeze. But if you have a gallon or more, it’s worth it to put thought into your setup.) you’ll need a stove setup and a sink setup.
Here I have a bowl that held my raw, snapped beans (into 1-2 inch pieces), a metal (important) colander sitting in a mixing bowl, and a large pot of boiling water. But before you boil the water, set a colander full of beans inside the water to make sure it’ll fit and your water level is correct. You want the beans to be able to be just submerged but not so submerged that they float out of the colander and into the pot.
For my sink setup I have freezer bags, a tub for the cooled beans, a sink with ice water in it, and a sink with cold water and another colander (this can be metal or plastic).
2. Once you have a rolling boil, submerge a colander full of beans.
Put the lid back on and boil on high for 4 minutes. If you’re wondering why my colander is wired to the pot… it’s because it used to have a metal piece sticking out on that end that I could set on the pot’s rim. But it’s broken, so I improvised with wire. It works for now. 😉
3. After four minutes, take the colander out and set it in the mixing bowl you have nearby to catch hot water drips. Transfer the beans from the metal colander to the colander in the sink, and let it float in the cool water.
4. Re-fill the metal colander with more beans, stick it in the boiling water, and set a timer for four minutes.
5. Transfer the colander of partially cooled beans to the ice water side of the sink.
The reason for having two sinks going is because you need to cool the beans ASAP in order to preserve the good enzymes and bright green color. The first side of the sink will get lukewarm after a few batches, but it still cools the beans some. The second side is where they’ll spend most of their time, and since the hot edge is taken off the beans in the first sink, it stays pretty icy.
6. When the four minutes is almost up, dump the cooled beans into a tub.
7. Return to step 3, and repeat until all your beans are blanched and cool!
8. Stick the beans into labeled freezer bags – I like to use quart sized ones.
Then pack them into your freezer, and enjoy fresh-frozen beans all winter long!
My mama is pretty good at buying food in bulk and freezing it. And for most of my life there were seven of us in the house, so we have 3 full-sized freezers! This is what one of them looks like inside.
And how, you may be wondering, do you keep track of what all you have in their icy depths? Good question, my friend. Inside a kitchen cupboard we have a freezer inventory.
When something goes in a freezer, we put one diagonal slash in an empty box for that item. And when something comes out of that freezer, we complete the “x” with another diagonal slash. One diagonal line means we have that item, and an “x” means it’s gone. It’s a nice system, as long as you remember to mark things off when you add to and take from the freezers! How do you keep track of all your frozen goods?