Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money. A sane approach to sustainability! Next up…How to Freeze Green Beans.
WHEN TO BUY GREEN BEANS
Green beans can be purchased almost any time of year but the best time to buy them is when they are in peak season in your area. That could range from anywhere between mid May through October all depending on the climate. Cooler areas will see beans peak later, while warmer climates like sunny southern California could see beans almost all year long.
WHERE TO BUY GREEN BEANS
When buying green beans, just like any other fruit or vegetable it is always best to buy local when you can to get the freshest product available. Buying from your local farmer may not mean you always get the prettiest, but if taste is what you’re after, you can be sure they will have the best flavor. If you live in urban areas check out the Farmers Market, natural produce store or the organic section in your local grocery store. Most local grocers are now carrying organic produce. When the price is within reason, this is a great choice.
HOW TO CHOOSE GREEN BEANS
When buying green beans it is best to buy those that are loose rather than already prepackaged. This gives you the option of picking out the freshest available. The pods should be bright green, crisp and without blemishes. Avoid wilted pods as they have been sitting too long. Beans come in different sizes depending on variety. Choose beans that are not overly large for the variety, the larger beans may have grown too long and could be tough and stringy.
STORING GREEN BEANS FOR THE FRESHEST FLAVOR
Use green beans as soon as you can to optimize flavor and nutrients. If you won’t be using the beans right away, store them unwashed in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Wash before using.
Green Beans require blanching, a high heat process that kills enzymes that cause the breakdown of sugar to starch. The breakdown is generally what causes the loss of flavor and texture in vegetables and fruits. There are several methods that can be used for blanching, but I prefer steaming when possible. This method stops the enzyme activity while still leaving much of the nutritional value of the food intact. Steaming is also one of the easiest methods without a lot of mess to clean up. Simple and effective works for me!
- Green Beans, washed stems removed and prepared as desired
- Prepare ice bath for green Beans. Fill sink with ice and add cold water. Important to plunge green beans into ice bath after allotted steam time to stop the cooking process.
- Place green beans into steamer basket for large pan.
- Place about 1 -2 inches of water in large pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, place steamer basket filled with green beans into pan, cover with lid and set timer for 3 minutes.
- Once timer goes off, immediately remove green beans from pan, pour into colander and plunge into ice bath.
- Allow to cool for several minutes, remove from ice water bath, drain and shake to remove excess water.
- Place on flat baking sheets lined with parchment or wax paper, careful to keep the green beans from touching. Place in the coldest part of freezer until frozen solid. (about 1 hour).
- Once frozen, remove from freezer, place into heavy duty freezer bags or vacuum seal, as desired.
- Date and label. Will keep for up to 1 year.
How to Freeze Green Beans shared with:
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