Putting up Green Beans for Winter

This was originally posted in 2008. This is evident in the fact that Justus and Elias are only 8 and 6 in the picture below. They are now 14 and 12. Time flies - and little boys become teenagers. The green bean freezer method is still the same, however. Since we have been harvesting many the past few weeks, I thought it would be fun to re-post this tutorial. :)

How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans

After posting about how I put up corn for winter, many of you asked about green beans.  I just happen to be in the middle of crazy green bean season.  So…here you go!!

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After picking our beans, I usually get my boys on “bean snapping duty” right away.  (They never complain about this job.  I think it’s because they are given permission to “break things”….what do you think?)  They snap off the ends and put the green beans into a colander.  As soon as the colander is full I wash the beans to try to get as much “garden” (my nice way of saying bugs and dirt) off.

It is my understanding that in order to maintain as much green bean nutrition as possible, it is best to only snap the ends off the bean…not to snap the bean into pieces.  It makes sense that if you snap the green bean into three pieces, when you cook the bean, more of the nutrients will be washed away in the water.  But if it’s a whole bean…more of the nutrients stay inside the bean.  (And you can have “My green bean is longer than your green bean” competitions while you eat dinner.)

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After washing the green beans, I then put them into a pot of boiling water.  This blanching process stops their aging process.  (No, you can not blanche people in order to stop their aging process.)

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After about two minutes in the boiling water, the green beans are a brighter green…and they go back into the colander where they are given a cold, cold shower.  This process stops the cooking process that the blanching part started.

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After the green beans are cooled from the cold water shower, I then spread them out onto a dry towel.  I use another towel to pat over the top of them to help dry them off more.  If your beans are too wet when you put them into a freezer bag, you’ll have ice form around your beans.  (You don’t want ice to form around your beans.)

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And then, I put my beans into a gallon freezer bag and label it.  And into the freezer it goes. I know some people prefer to can their green beans.  I don’t can them for two reasons:

1.  Freezing them maintains more of the green bean’s nutrition.
2.  I’m incredibly afraid of my pressure cooker.  (When I got my mom’s pressure cooker, it didn’t have a manual with it.  I have no idea how to use it properly.)  I do not need to cause an explosion in my kitchen.

So there you go!  As I begin to can and freeze my tomatoes and fruit for the winter, I’ll be sure to show you those processes too!  (Yeah, because those don’t require a pressure cooker, just a hot water bath…and I’m not so afraid of those.)

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Comments

  1. says

    I remember spending hours and hours as a kid snapping beans. I will admit I hated that job. Maybe girls don’t like to break things as much as boys. :) But we also snapped them into pieces. My mom canned a ton of beans each year. But I am glad she did and glad I helped it gave us good food for the rest of the year.

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  2. Lindsey says

    I am so glad you are sharing this! I am going to start to do this next year for my family.

    I have also started to research High Fructose Corn Syrup and other “yucky” ingredients, thanks for all the inspiration on living healthier!

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  3. Faith says

    Thanks so much for showing this. I always wondered how to go about doing this, now I know. I’m buying up some beans this week so I can freeze them. Thanks again!

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  4. says

    That’s how I freeze my green beans, too! :) I just did this a few weeks ago, and I’m hoping for more beans later on.

    By the way, you can usually get pressure canners inspected at a local Extension Service Office, and they can often assist you in ordering any necessary replacement parts. That’s what mom my did with her old pressure canner. :)

    Blessings,
    Michele

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  5. says

    My garden is about a month behind schedule due to the SNOW and hard freezes we had in April, a whole month beyond the “average” last frost. SO… have no beans yet!
    I had to laugh though, because your reasons for not canning are EXACTLY the same reasons I don’t can. :)

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  6. says

    We do both… freeze and can. Freeze because I don’t like mushy beans in stew and soups in the winter…
    can because we would run out of Freezer space very quickly saving the garden for 6 people…
    So far we have canned 58 quarts of green beans, and frozen about 8 quarts for stews and such! Also given away about 10 quarts worth and eaten probably 10 quarts worth for snacks and dinners.
    I do agree that steaming them and freezing them would be a much better nutritional option (that is what I do, I steam my ones I will freeze for 4 min.)

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  7. Joelle says

    If I had a bigger garden, and a chest-freezer, I would SO do this. Mmmm. My mom and I used to do these when I was a kid, except we did can ours. We used a water-bath thingy (I don’t know what it is – a machine? a pot?!) as opposed to a pressure cooker.

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  8. says

    my green beans died after 4 weeks of rain. I am hoping to try again next year. I was thinking of getting a pressure canner but I am getting scared. I may just do this instead.

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  9. says

    Just wanted to let you know that I tried your recipe for herb-sprinkled chicken (from your chook cookbook) and it was a hit with the whole family – all 6 children plus my husband. Actually my husband liked it so much he said he’d be happy if I always did chicken that way from now on!

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  10. says

    I hadn’t ever thought about blanching the babies. What a great idea! haha

    Don’t be afraid of the pressure canner. They are really easy to use and perfectly safe. Time consuming, but safe. You need to let the pressure dissipate before opening the cover, which takes about an hour.

    BE NOT AFRAID!!! Once you get the hang of it, you can put up practically anything, including meats. How awesome is that?

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  11. says

    LOL I have my grandmothers canner and I too am afraid of the pressure canning and will only can things that can be in a water bath. Here I thought I was the only one! I don’t even like green beans, but yours look great!

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  12. Mary Underwood says

    a neighbor just brought me 5 gallons of Blue Lake green beans. I always freeze my beans but she said I needed to can these. She says Blue Lakes do not freeze well. Do you have any info on this?

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  13. says

    I don’t know if you’ve gotten over your fear of the pressure canner, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it. I absolutely love mine. Take a look at all the wonderful things I can. That’s only part of my pantry: http://doomerincanada.blogspot.com/2010/12/peak-inside-my-pantry-jarred-food.html

    It’s funny – I can’t stand boiling water bath canning because it’s such a lot of work. With pressure canning, I just have to make sure that my jars are clean – not sterilized or hot. And I only put about 2″ of water in my canner instead of having to fill it to cover the jars.

    And you’re so limited in what you can BWB. Honest – get used to using your pressure canner and you’ll think it’s the most amazing tool in your kitchen. :) I’d get rid of my fridge before I got rid of my canner.

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  14. Bernadette says

    Do you do bush or pole beans? i am trying to garden and i don’t know the difference.

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    Laura Reply:

    I use bush beans, but it really just depends on your garden space!

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  15. Robin Ingram says

    When blanching the vegetables to freeze them, do you boil the water first or have them in there while it boils? Also, when you start your timer once they are in the boiling water, do you wait for it to boil again before timing?

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    Laura Reply:

    Boil the water, then start your timer once they are in the boiling water. You don’t have to wait for the water to boil again to start the timer.

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  16. danielle says

    I am so excited i set a goal for myself to have 300 jars by canning season and i am happy to announce that i have 325 or more…and i started out with about 150 and i didn’t buy any this year at all they were all given to me :) I was sooooo sooo excited and feel so blessed! Now i got to get canning!
    OH and my DH bought me a 23qt pressure canner for our anniversary! isn’t that romantic!!!? lol

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  17. Karen says

    What variety of green beans do you use? My turned out large and stringy. I had to plant twice this year and I can’t remember what I planted!

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    Laura Reply:

    We use Contender Bush Beans. I think the key is to pick them when they are a little smaller, before they become tough and stringy.

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  18. Ernie says

    Being a man and slaving in the garden all summer to have vegies to put up, I think I am going to have to learn how to can my self. My mom always canned using a pressure canner. No problem. This years beans stayed in the pan for two days so they lost their freshness. My wife had other things to do. I picked them on Monday they set tell the next day then I broke them and they are still setting in the pans. I will look forward to your posts and instructions on various forms of preserving food. It’s not good to break your back tending the garden and picking the goods only to have them not being taken care of in the kitchen. I will have to step up to the plate. (Just venting my frustrations thanks for listening)

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  19. Karen S. says

    I grew up around a pressure canner; it’s not really scary when you know how to use it. The one I use was manufactured during WWII. It hada pamphlet in the box detailing how to have a “Victory Garden”. My mother-in-law bought it for me from a neighbor of hers. I was still able to buy a replacement seal and valve for it about 12 years ago.

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  20. Jamie says

    I can never ever get the right texture when I cook from frozen beans. My mom always canned hers so that’s the texture I want when I cook them and when I cook from frozen they always turn to mush or get mealy-like. Very frustrating!

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  21. Shelly says

    I usually just rinse and dry my beans and put them in the freezer without blanching them. I also just shuck the corn and put it in freezer bags too. I’m lazy I guess, but they both always taste good when cooked in January.

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  22. Carly says

    Do you time the three minutes once the water starts boiling again after you put the beans in, or as soon as you put them in when its not yet boiling again?

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