How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans

How to Freeze Fresh Green BeansMany people are resistant to freeze foods because they believe they will lose their freshness and will not be as good later. However, when frozen, green beans will last several months and they will not lose their amazing flavor. Here are some tips to freezing fresh green beans so that they can be used in any meal—and be full of crisp flavor!

 

Purchase Fresh Green Beans During Their Peak Season

You will want to purchase your green beans during the summer through the early fall seasons. This is when green beans taste the best and are known for their great flavor.

How to Select the Right Green Beans

You want to choose green beans that are brightly colored. The more colorful, the better! These green beans will, ideally, be blemish free, where they are not limp or shriveled. You want them firm and bright green.   

How to Freeze Green Beans

One of the most important things to remember when freezing green beans is to trim them before hand. Grab a handful of green beans and, using a sharp knife, cut off the stems. Do this for all of the green beans you want to freeze. Some people will also cut the tapered ends, this is completely up to you.

Remove the Fiber

Some beans will feature a stringy sort of fiber within the bean, located in the bean pod, that should be removed. However, if you do not see one, this means that your type of beans do not have this and you do not have to worry about removing it.

Cut into Small Pieces

Next, you should cut the green beans into small and bite sized pieces. This works out great because most recipes that feature green beans, such as a stew or casserole. You will want to cut the beans into 1 ½ inch pieces. If you know that you will not be needing the green beans to be in small pieces when you want to cook them in the future, you can choose to skip this step.

Blanching the Beans

The next step is to blanch the beans.  To do this, you will need to boil a pot of water. You will need 1 gallon of water for every pound of green beans. Boil the beans for approximately 2 minutes. If you did not cut them into small 1 ½ inch pieces, then you should boil them for approximately 4 minutes.

Freeze

After they are boiled, you want to immediately cool the beans by using ice water. Once cooled, drain beans from ice water.

Next, start putting the green beans into your freezer bags. You want the beans to be as compact as possible but still leaving about ½ inch to close the bag. Seal the bags and place in the freezer for freezing.

For those looking to preserve the freshness, or if you are using a lower quality freezer bag, you may consider using freezer tape on the seal to make sure the air is locked out.

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Simple Fava Bean Recipe

Fava beans have a rich, buttery taste, and chefs love to incorporate them into their first spring dishes. Fava beans are a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. Young favas can be cooked and used unpeeled, but as they mature, their tough outer skins need to be removed.  But it’s well worth the effort because their rich flavor is delicious in everything from salads to stews. They might take some time to shell and peel, but putting the tender green beans into any dish makes it sodelicious! Since they are so fresh, and have a naturally good taste, it is best to create dishes with them that use simple ingredients and highlight the taste of the beans themselves. Here is a simple recipe that does just that and also comes together in under half an hour.

Fava Beans with Olive Oil and Lemon

Ingredients

4 lb. fresh fava beans

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

3/4 cup shaved aged hard cheese, such as Pecorino

 

Method

  • First, shell the fava beans from the fava pods. If you're new to fava beans, an easy method is to open the pods as you run the edge of a knife along the seam, cutting away the tough edge so that the pod halves come apart. Discard the pods.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes (the amount of time required will depend on the freshness of the beans).
  • Using a slotted spoon, drain the beans and then immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water. This “shocks” the beans and stops the cooking process. This step ensures that the beans do not get overcooked and mushy.
  • When cool enough to handle, slip off the outer skins of the beans and discard. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • In another small bowl, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. Whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the mixture on top of the beans and toss. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and toss gently again. Serve right away.

This is an easy recipe that takes hardly any time to put together. Not only is it packed with nutrients, it looks very appetizing with a bright green color. It can be served as an appetizer, a healthy snack, or as a side dish with a main entrée. The initial prep time aside, these make for a quick dish anytime. The light vinaigrette and a bit of shaved cheese is all it takes to create this tasty dish. You can eat these on their own, or you can even add pasta to turn it into a nice pasta salad. Add a protein like grilled chicken or pork, and you have a complete meal.

Try this simple fava bean recipe and let the buttery taste of these beans shine through. Just dress these beans with a light vinaigrette and shaved cheese to create a simple yet delicious dish.

 

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A New Twist on Mom’s Old Recipe

Old Recipes

Two of my favorite vegetables are potatoes and green beans.  They are an unlikely pair, but I recently created an innovative dish where the two complement each other perfectly.  The recipe has its roots in the Hungarian cooking tradition since it includes paprika, and my mother has been making a variation of it for years.  We refer to it simply as “fried potatoes,” but they really aren’t that at all.  They are much, much more.  (And healthier than they sound.)

Imagine a chilly, fall afternoon when you are trying to decide what to cook for dinner.  You decide to throw some steaks and barbeque chicken on the grill, but what will you make to go with it?  You rummage through your refrigerator and pantry finding, among other things, green beans and potatoes.  You usually cook the two separately, but tonight, you decide to get creative and blend them together.

Ingredients:

Red-eye potatoes – 6 potatoes
Onion – 1 large onion
Parsley – 1 cup, chopped
Green beans – 2 cups
Canola oil – 2 tablespoons
Paprika
Salt
Pepper

Instructions:

 Coat a frying pan in Canola oil and add in your chopped onion.  Cook on medium until onion is browned.  In the meantime, boil potatoes until they are soft but firm and cut them into slices.  You don’t want them perfectly ready to serve because they will cook more in the frying pan.  Once your onion is browned, add the sliced potatoes to the frying pan.  Then, season with salt and pepper and a liberal amount of paprika.

You will also need to boil green beans until they are just right to eat.  When the potatoes are browned, but not quite finished, add the green beans to the mixture.  Season once again with salt, pepper and paprika.  About five minutes before you are ready to take the potato and green bean dish off of the stove, add one cup of chopped parsley.

Mom’s “fried potatoes” are surely more than just fried potatoes, especially when you add green beans.  This dish would be best served as a side to a simple chicken or beef recipe or even a good steak.  The potatoes give it a hearty feel while the green beans and parsley make it taste fresh.  Give it a try and taste for yourself.

 

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