Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blanching and Freezing Beans

We planted our first garden this year, and it has produced a bounty of beans! (Much to my husband's dismay - let's just say beans wouldn't be his first choice for veggies ;) ) I know next-to-nothing about canning and freezing foods, but I am determined to learn more about it and try my hand at it. I consider preserving food to be an important homemaking skill to have. It may not be "worth all the work" for some people (Because, yes it's a LOT of work), but I think it's important to at least have the know-how to do it if one so chooses. I know I feel good knowing that my garden-grown beans are free from pesticides and chemicals.
Here's a little picture tutorial of how to blanch and freeze beans:

1) Start out with freshly picked beans. Try to pick the beans before they get too large and bumpy. If you don't have time to blanch your beans right away, just stick them in the fridge for a few days until you have time to tend to them.

2) Rinse your beans off to get all the dirt off.

3) Trim the ends of your beans using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors. Then, cut your beans into 1 inch pieces or whatever size you prefer.

4) Bring a huge pot of water to a rolling boiling. Dump your beans (as many as can reasonably fit, depending on the size of pot used) into the pot. Cover and let it come back to boil. This shouldn't take much more than a minute. If it does, you are probably putting too many beans in at once. Once it's boiling again, start your timer for 3 minutes. This is the recommended blanching time for beans. Make sure the water continues to boil for the full 3 minutes.
5) After 3 minutes are up, remove the beans either with a large slotted spoon or strainer and immediately place them into a large bowl full of ice cold water. This will "shock" the beans and stop the cooking process. Let the beans cool off for about 3 minutes. Continue to add ice cubes and more cold water as needed to keep the water cold.

6) Pat the beans dry on a tea towel.

7) Spread the beans onto cookie sheets and stick them in the freezer to flash freeze them for a couple hours. This will prevent the beans from sticking together later on.
8) After a few hours in the freezer, remove the beans from the cookie sheets and transfer them into freezer bags. Label the bags and stick them back into the freezer until you want to cook them!

After all your hard work, sit down and enjoy a homemade Carmel Frappuccino. That's what I did, anyway! :-)

This post is linked back to Raising Homemakers.

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