Green beans are among the very few veggies that can be frozen and still come out tasting good thereafter. Hence, it’s a great idea to learn how to freeze green beans if you want to keep them around longer.
Green beans are excellent for evoking memories of summer in colder months when they’re out of season.
Here are a few ways you can do this.
Can You Freeze Green Beans? Should You?
You absolutely can!
Like we said earlier, green beans are among the very short list of veggies that are great after freezing. Even months after they’re solidly frozen, when thawed and prepared, they still retain their texture and flavors. This is one reason why green beans are such popular additions to vegetarian dishes.
But should you use frozen green beans?
Frozen green beans are better than other alternatives, especially in the short term. Compared to pressure-canned beans, for example, frozen green beans are more nutritious when stored properly and quickly consumed.
During the canning process, heat is applied to the beans. The high heat destroys a significant portion of the beans’ vitamin B (thiamine) content. Much of the beans’ vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is also lost in the process.
Before freezing, the beans must be blanched. The heat from the blanching process also denatures some of the beans’ vitamins and important nutrients. However, because blanching is quick, nutritional loss is low.
The nutritional profile of green beans takes the biggest hit during storage. Over time, due to oxidation, the nutrients and minerals within the veggies degrade.
Therefore, we recommend you try and use up your frozen green beans as quickly as possible to enjoy the full benefits.
Besides losing much of their nutritional profile from the get-go, canned veggies are also high in sodium. A diet that contains too much sodium is linked to greater risks of hypertension and heart diseases.
That doesn’t mean canned veggies are entirely bad, however. Just like frozen beans, they contain a lot of essential minerals and nutrients. Plus, you can significantly reduce the sodium level by draining and rinsing them before use.
In the short term, though, frozen green beans are better and more convenient. If you plan to store the beans for months on end, that’s when pressure-canning becomes the better option.
Can You Freeze Cooked Green Beans?
Cooked green beans can be frozen, stored, and consumed just like fresh beans. After they are cooked, freeze them within 2 hours. If properly stored, they can last 10 to 12 months at a time.
The Best Way to Freeze Green Beans
For most people, the best way to freeze green beans is to blanch first, then freeze.
Blanching will help the beans retain their texture, flavor, and color by disrupting the beans’ natural enzymes. The cost, as noted above, is a slight reduction in vitamins B and C.
When blanched and frozen, green beans can look, feel, and taste fresh for months on end. We highly recommend this method if you plan on storing the beans for months at a time.
2. Can You Freeze Green Beans Without Blanching Them First?
On the other hand, there is the unblanched method. Fresh, raw beans are immediately frozen, packaged, and stored.
Use this method only if you plan on storing the beans for only a short period (a few days or weeks). After a few months, unblanched beans will turn an unappealing gray and become tough. They’re completely safe to eat, but they don’t look at all appetizing.
The advantage to this is that you don’t lose any nutrition to the blanching process.
How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans
1. How to Prepare Green Beans for Blanching and Freezing
First, rinse all of the green beans under cold water. Be very gentle and don’t let them break or bend.
After that, either use scissors or a knife to trim off the stem. You may cut out the tail also, if you want. Occasionally, you will get a bean that has a string of fiber running through the whole pod. Cut it out.
Depending on what you plan to do with the beans later, you can either cut them into smaller pieces or let them be.
Fill up a large pot with water and put it on the stove. For every pound of green beans that you intend to blanch, you need a gallon of water. Bring the water to a boil.
While the water heats, fill up a large bowl with cold (preferably ice) water.
Once the boiling water begins to release steam, add about a tablespoon of salt. The salted water will enhance the beans’ flavor.
Add a small batch of beans when the salt has fully dissolved (which takes only a few seconds at best). Be careful not to add so much that the pot becomes crowded.
Allow the beans to cook for about 3 minutes, then fish them out. Drain the beans of excess water using a colander.
After the beans are drained, immediately put them into the bowl of cold water to rapidly cool them down. The cooling action will eliminate residual heat and further preserve the beans’ color.
Give them about 3 minutes to completely cool. After three minutes, once again fish them out and drain using a colander.
Do this until all of your beans are blanched.
On a baking sheet, arrange the green beans in a single layer. Make sure that there is ample space for each of the pods on the sheet.
Put the sheet into the freezer for around 2 to 3 hours.
Once completely frozen, take the sheet out of the freezer and transfer the frozen beans into resealable plastic bags. Squeeze as much air out the bag as you possibly can without damaging the pods.
Carefully label each bag with the name and date.
Place the bags back into the freezer for storage.
How to Freeze Cooked Green Beans
You need to do a couple more steps to freeze cooked green beans. The initial steps are similar to freezing fresh beans: wash, trim, and blanch. After that, cook the beans using whatever method that you like.
Once cooked, you have two options. Either place the beans in an airtight container or wrap them up in aluminum foil.
Place the cooked green beans into the freezer (encased in the vessel of your choice). It should take about 2 to 3 hours for the beans to fully freeze.
When frozen, transfer the beans into resealable plastic bags and clearly label them.
Again, place them back into the freezer and store.
Green beans are excellent veggies to enjoy any time of the year. Unfortunately, they mostly come during the summer season. But now that you know how to freeze green beans, even colder months won’t stop you from including some in your meals.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.