Even though green beans are essentially a summer vegetable, they are a Christmas table mainstay. Green beans are available all year, but from May to October, you can get them at your local farmer’s market (or even in your own garden if you’re lucky).
Try Ree Drummond’s traditional three-bean salad for a simple side dish, her peanut chicken with green beans or skirt steak with blistered green beans for an easy weekday supper, or amaze the entire family around the holidays with a green bean casserole with candied bacon.
If you have an excess of green beans in your garden this year or want to buy some in bulk to prepare for the holidays, you may be wondering if green beans can be frozen. The good news is that you can—read on to find out how to freeze green beans for all of your favorite recipes!
How do you freeze fresh green beans?
Green beans may be frozen in just a few simple steps. First, carefully wash the green beans and cut the ends. Then, bring a big saucepan of water to a boil and blanch the green beans. Cook the fresh green beans in the water for 3 minutes, or until they are soft but still crisp. Drain the green beans and place them in a dish of cold water to halt the cooking process.
After around 5 minutes, rinse the beans properly and pat them totally dry (this is vital so they don’t form ice crystals in the freezer!). Then, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper, being sure to separate each bean so they cling together, and freeze for 1 hour. Then, remove the green beans from the parchment and place them in resealable plastic freezer bags, squeezing out as much air as possible before closing. The beans can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
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Can you freeze green beans without blanching them first?
You may follow the procedures above without blanching the green beans; they will freeze OK for approximately a month. Just keep in mind that blanched green beans have a nicer texture when thawed, thus the extra process of blanching may be worthwhile (frozen raw green beans can get a bit mushy when thawed). Another benefit of blanching is that it extends the shelf life to around 6 months. Also, if you freeze raw green beans, you should cook them after thawing because their texture changes and you wouldn’t want to present them raw on a crudités dish. Use thawed frozen green beans in casseroles, stir-fries, and other dishes.
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Can you freeze green beans after they are cooked?
Yes! Green beans blanching gently cooks them without overcooking them. You may freeze a fully cooked green bean dish, such as a green bean casserole, but keep in mind that the green beans will be softer and more liquid when thawed and reheated. Cooked green bean dinners can be frozen in resealable freezer bags (with as little air as possible removed) or another airtight container.
Is it necessary to thaw frozen green beans before using them?
Everything is determined by the recipe. If your recipe says to thaw them, go ahead and do so. Otherwise, it isn’t required. This is especially true when served over vegetable soup, curry, or chickpea stew. You may add them right out of the freezer bag.
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Fresh green beans are frequently available from local gardens and farmer’s markets during the summer. If your family enjoys the flavor of these summer veggies, you may save them by freezing them for later use. It’s simple to accomplish at home and provides you control over the quality of food your family consumes.