The best time of the year to pick fresh string beans is from May to October. String Beans are also known as green beans. They are very versatile and flexible in their preparations. Strings beans are favored in soups, casseroles, and varying cooking dishes or recipes. String beans can even be roasted.
String beans can be found in stores all year round, but if you have a load of fresh string beans on hand, how do you preserve them?
Can you freeze string beans? Yes, you can. Fresh string beans can be frozen and stored for 6 to 12 months while keeping the color, flavor, taste, and crunchy texture. If properly stored, this awesome legume can grace your recipes all year round.
String Beans, like all other greens, have to be prepared before freezing. They have essential vitamins and enough fiber to help improve digestion and ease bowel movement.
However, they have a very short shelf life and would last no more than 5 days in your refrigerator. Hence, the need to preserve them is very great.
How to Freeze String Beans
There are many ways to preserve green beans. All these methods work to effect the same goal, prolonging the shelf life of fresh green beans. Freezing String Beans is no hard task, although the methods differ and require different degrees of time investment, they might produce slightly different results.
- Freezing Unblanched String Beans
- Freezing Blanched String Beans
Freezing Unblanched String Beans
We can call this the lazy man’s method. This method is simple and easy to execute. However, there might be a slight change in color as the string beans freezes but that’s it. If you are bothered about how attractive your string beans look after freezing, then you should try the other method.
Step 1: Preparation
You can’t ascertain what your string beans have been exposed to. This is why you have to give them a very good and thorough wash. Always wash your veggies, greens, or legumes under running water. This prevents the greens from trapping the dirt and debris you are trying to wash away.
Step 2: Cutting the String Beans
With a very sharp kitchen knife, trim off both ends of your string beans. Cutting your beans into smaller sizes is optional. However, trying to cut frozen string beans could be quite a chore, so why not cut them now?
Cut the beans into 1 or 2-inch sizes and leave them to air dry. You can pat them down with a paper towel to hasten the drying process.
Step 3: Storage
Place your cut string beans into freezer-friendly containers or airtight freezer bags. Ziploc bags can do the trick too. Stuff the bags full with the string beans, press them flat to expel as much air as you can before sealing.
If you are using freezer-friendly jars or containers, leave about ½ inch of space in the jars. You can complement the sealing with freezer tape to make it air proof.
Step 4: Freezing
Labeling food items help your freezer organization and can also help put your meal plan in order. Label the bags or jars, stating their contents and date of the freeze before putting them in the freezer to freeze.
If you are using airtight freezer bags, and you have frozen them in batches. Do not stack the bags immediately. Place each bag individually in the freezer with enough air around them, so they can freeze solid before you stack them.
Freezing Blanched String Beans
This follows the same process as freezing unblanched beans, the only difference being that you blanch the beans before bagging them to freeze.
This method is great for preserving the color and flavor of the beans because blanching stops the ripening process of the string beans and keeps them from rotting. So how do you blanch string beans?
After washing the string beans and cutting them into smaller sizes, put a pan of water on heat to boil. While you wait for the water to boil, look for a wire skimmer or a colander that would fit into the pan of boiling water. Also prepare a cold bath, you can do this by putting large chunks of ice into the water in a bowl.
Once your water begins to boil, throw in the string beans. The amount of time they spend in the hot bath would be determined by their size. You can boil small string beans for 2 minutes, medium for 3 minutes, and large for 4 minutes. You can blanch your beans in batches.
As soon as you reach the time limit in the hot bath, remove the beans with your colander or wire skimmer and plunge them into the ice bath to immediately stop the cooking process. Wait for your beans to cool down and air dry before storing them as we did with the unblanched beans.
How to Thaw Frozen String Beans
Frozen string beans can be used in cooked recipes like soups, and many others. How you use your frozen beans depends on what you are cooking them with or adding them to.
To thaw your frozen beans, you can bring them out of the freezer to thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Can You Freeze Cooked String Beans?
Yes, you can. But if you can avoid it, don’t cook your string beans before freezing them.
Cooked string beans are softer than uncooked ones, and contain more water. The freezing process turns them into mush and makes them almost useless in the intended recipes or dishes.
However, if you do not have any other option, you can freeze cooked string beans. It would still suffice in soups or dishes that do not require a long cooking time.
How to Recognize Spoiled String Beans
As your string beans begin to go bad, it becomes limp and dry. Fresh string beans will snap when you bend them while spoiled string beans will just bend when you bend them.
As the beans begin to go bad, mold grows on them. Cook your string beans thoroughly before you eat them to prevent food poisoning. Avoid eating spoiled food items, in general, to avoid falling sick.