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!!
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.)
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.)
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.
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.)
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.)