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Freezing vegetables is always a tricky process. It’s not a simple case of just throwing the bag in a freezer drawer. This is especially true of any fresh vegetables.
Vegetables usually contain a lot of water. So freezing them can affect the texture.
Fresh green beans are deliciously crunchy and snappy. But, they don’t last very long in the refrigerator. So, can you freeze them to make them last longer? The answer is yes, you absolutely can.
But, as with freezing any other food, there are a few important things to consider before chucking them in the freezer. To help make sure you keep those green beans as delicious as possible, we’ve put together this guide to freezing fresh green beans
How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans
Freezing fresh green beans is super easy. Some guides will tell you to blanch vegetables before freezing them.
This is entirely up to you (and you can find out more about blanching in our “Factors to Consider Before Freezing” section) but we’re going to skip the blanching to give you the simplest possible guide to freezing.
Step One: Prep the Green Beans
Before cooking green beans, it’s a good idea to top and tail them. This isn’t 100% necessary but it will be more pleasant when you’re eating them. This is because the ends of fresh green beans are quite tough and usually have a string.
These bits are edible, they’re just not very nice and should be discarded.
Depending on how much space you have in your freezer and how big a container you’re going to use, it might also be a good idea to slice the green beans in half.
Step Two: Wash the Green Beans
This is also another important step. Whenever you cook with fresh vegetables, it’s a good idea to give them a rinse.
Even if you’re sure that they have been pre-washed, it’s still a good idea. This will wash off any dirt, as well as any pesticides or insecticides that might have been used.
Step Three: Dry the Green Beans
Once you have rinsed all of the green beans, pat them dry with some paper towels. Try to make them as dry as possible. If you don’t, any water droplets still sitting on the green beans will also freeze. This will potentially alter the texture and consistency of the beans.
It might also cause freezer burn. This won’t make the green beans inedible but it will make them a little tougher and reduce their flavor.
Step Four: Freeze the Green Beans
Now it’s finally time to actually freeze the green beans. All you need to do is place the green beans inside a container that is suitable for the freezer. For the shape and consistency of green beans, a freezer bag will be the best option.
But, if you want to reduce your use of single-use plastic, then a reusable tub will also work well. Then, just place them in the freezer. Green beans can last a very long time in the freezer. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a year.
How to Defrost Fresh Green Beans
Now you know how to freeze fresh green beans, you need to know how to defrost them. For most foods, there are three methods of defrosting. These are in the refrigerator, on the countertop, or in the microwave.
But, when it comes to vegetables like green beans, you can easily cook them from frozen. This is the method we would recommend. Even if you defrost the green beans, they will be soggy and won’t have the same consistency as they did beforehand.
So, to get the best results, we recommend you boil the green beans, from frozen, for 3 to 5 minutes.
But, if you really want to defrost them, then we recommend you do so in the refrigerator or on the countertop. The green beans can be defrosted in the microwave (and if you choose this method, make sure to use the defrost setting) but they will become especially soft and soggy.
To defrost the green beans in the refrigerator or on the countertop, simply place them on a dish or dinner plate covered with paper towels. The paper towels will absorb some of the water. This will make the green beans slightly less soft and soggy.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing Fresh Green Beans
- The most important factor to consider before freezing fresh green beans is that the texture will change. When food is frozen, the water inside will freeze. Then, when the food is defrosted, that water will also defrost. This causes the food to become softer and soggier. So, when you eventually cook your green beans, they won’t have quite the same crunchy texture as before.
- Before you freeze your green beans, it’s a good idea to consider whether or not you want to blanch them. We haven’t included blanching in our guide as we wanted to make the process as easy as possible. But some other guides might recommend this. Blanching is the process of quickly boiling vegetables before freezing them.
Blanching helps the vegetables to retain more of their color and nutrients. So, if you’re concerned that freezing fresh green beans will make them lose some of their nutritional value, quickly boil them for a few seconds, let them cool, dry them, and then freeze them.
- As mentioned above, these green beans will be best cooked from frozen. But this doesn’t mean you just have to boil them. From frozen, green beans can also be steamed or thrown into a stew or soup.
But, if you plan to roast them or fry them, it’s best to boil them a little. Otherwise, they will defrost in the oven or frying pan. This will cause the other ingredients to become soft. You will then need to cook them for longer to cause the water to evaporate.
So, if you’re concerned that freezing fresh green beans will limit what you can do with them, don’t worry as the opposite is true.