Processing Fresh Green Beans - ☺♥

Green Bean Processing

Depending on where you live fresh local green beans may be available at roadside vegetable markets, nurseries, farmers markets, farms, etc. from June through August. These beans are typically very superior in quality/freshness to the so-called fresh green beans sold by supermarkets. If you want to enjoy delicious green beans year round you have to buy and process fresh local products while they are readily available. I grow my own regular green beans and pole beans and it is very easy. Thus, I pick them at their peak and process them in small batches.

The only way to achieve real taste and proper tenderness and texture in preserving green beans is to blanch and vacuum seal and freeze them. Canning seriously degrades the quality in taste and in texture. Thus this recipe describes how I process fresh green beans and then freeze them. And I certainly do vacuum seal packets of blanched green beans prior to freezing, for vacuum sealing is the perfect way to avoid any future freezer burn. Thus, the product when used later is most like the original green beans in taste, texture and tenderness.

The best way to process fresh green beans is to wash them thoroughly and cut off the stem ends. Then blanch small batches, like two adult servings, in boiling water for three minutes and remove the beans to a very large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. After a minute or two the now cold green beans can be put into a vacuum sealing bag, vacuum sealed, and put directly into the deep freeze. That means you have a large pot with about 1 gallon of boiling salted water on high heat and you introduce only two servings of raw green beans into the boiling water at one time. The lower temperature beans will slightly reduce the boiling for about a minute. Ignore that. What you do is simply cover the pot with a lid when you first put the beans into the boiling water and then activate a timer for three minutes. You may have to partially remove the lid after about a minute to keep the water from boiling over. After three minutes the beans are removed with tongs and immediately put into a large bowl of very cold water that has ice cubes in it, for that will quickly stop any further cooking. Allow the batch of blanched beans to cool in the water for two minutes, and change the water and add ice cubes if/when the water is no longer cold due to doing multiple hot batches of blanched beans.

The size of your family and the individual appetites should be considered when deciding how many green beans to put into one vacuum sealing bag. I prefer to stick with two adult servings per bag and simply use more bags if more than two people are eating at a given meal. Whatever you decide you vacuum seal each package of green beans to a vacuum level of 28 inches of mercury. It is not necessary to go beyond that vacuum level.

My preferred way to cook a packet of frozen green beans is to defrost it in a microwave oven and then, if appropriate, place the beans in a serving dish, add butter and salt and possibly pepper, cover the dish with plastic wrap and set it aside until the last few minutes before the meal is served. At that point I microwave the beans only to the point of making them hot, to where the plastic wrap starts to swell from internal steam pressure. Recall that the three minute blanching period pretty much cooked the beans, so the reheating later need not entail a long period of cooking for the beans to be perfect.

Follow the above instructions and you can have delicious green beans year round.