Preserving the Season's Bounty: Green Beans

As you may or may not know, we're doing our own little garden this year. For some reason, we planted green beans...That seems funny to me that we did that even though none of us really like them. I suppose my thinking was, "they're easy to grow and preserve and are good for us, so I will plant them and we will eat them." True, we are eating them, but none of us love them. Oh well. I can still use them this winter in a chicken pot pie recipe (I have an amazing one from my friend Sara, if you need a great recipe).

In this post I want to share with you how I preserve our green beans. It's really quite simple. I also want to encourage you that it's okay if you don't know how to do any kind of preserving yet. You can learn. Really, you can! I'm an example of that. I didn't know how to do any preserving of any kind before I got married, and really not even until last summer did I even learn how to blanch green beans (the internet is a wonderful resource for such things!). This is my first year canning so I'm right there with you in learning how to do all this!

I'm 32 years old and have been married for just under 8 years and feel like I am just now getting domestic around here! For me, it's been a process of learning. When I got married I knew how to make a couple dishes, but that was it. I've gradually learned how to make a number of things, but canning and preserving was something I knew nothing about until recently. (And the canning I still don't feel confident to do by myself yet, but I have people who are willing to teach me!)

SO, all that to say, anybody can learn at any time. It just takes a willingness to learn a new skill. And, hey, if you do take up canning you can even get adorable canning labels like these--that I love.

But, on to the beans for now...

After you've picked and thoroughly washed your green beans in cool water, put them in a colander to drain a bit.

Then cut off the tips of them with a paring knife. I LOVE my Pampered Chef paring knife for just such tasks. You only have to do the stem end, but I like to do both. It's a personal preference.

Then bring some water to a rolling boil. While you're waiting for the water to boil, fill another bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Once the water is boiling, place your beans in the pot for 3 minutes and cover. Slightly boiling your beans will stop the enzymatic process that causes spoilage (another reason to thoroughly wash your beans so as to remove any extra "residue"). After 3 minutes, remove the beans with a slotted spoon and place in your bowl of cold water and ice.

Let the beans set in the water and ice for about 5 minutes. Then quickly remove them with a slotted spoon, draining off excess water, and place them in a labeled freezer bag. Be sure to squeeze all of the air out of the freezer bag before sealing it.

That's it! Not too hard, is it? If you can green beans and want to share a link as to how to do it, please do so in the comments section in case anyone is interested. Thanks!


GraceYves said...

Green beans are my favourite! We have some plants in our garden, but they are not beans yet. I have been wondering how to perserve them without canning, and now I can't wait to try this out.

becky@purposefulhomemaking.com said...

you must be further north than me! although i just started picking ours about 2 weeks ago. I'm so glad I put this post up so now you know what to do! :) Did you plant a big garden? Do you do any other kind of preserving?

I'm going to start making pickles soon--our cucumbers are really starting to come in. Again, something I've never done before!!! :)

becky@purposefulhomemaking.com said...

wait, I checked out your blog--good stuff and I see you're from BC. :)

skmoore said...

Becky, I'm just going to start freezing the beans in a week or so. Every time I pick them (I got 3/4 of a 5 qt ice cream pail yesterday), the family eats all that I pick. Those are just the Italian beans. My Blue Lake climbers will be on in a week and should produce for the rest of the season. Too bad you don't like beans so much, because they're probably the one veggie that the whole family eats. I was showing a friend my garden a few weeks ago, and saw one of the dogs nosing under the green bean bushes. I thought she was looking for a mole, but she was actually eating the green beans off the bush! Now I give both of the dogs treats when I'm picking. They love my carrots too, but I have to wash them first.

Mama Chocolate said...

We love fresh green beans! Are you picking them when they're nice and small and tender? That would make a big difference in the texture and flavor!
I haven't canned any for a couple years and sorely miss having the home-canned ones. I'm hoping to do a big batch this year! :-)

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