If you want to spend less time preserving your green beans, freezing them is a great alternative! Green beans are a popular and very convenient addition to many recipes because they’re nutritious, versatile, and obviously delicious and in this guide, we’ll show you how to freeze green beans.
So, if you’ve had a big harvest from your garden, or found a great deal at the Farmer’s Market, it can be helpful to learn how to freeze green beans to use them later on in soups, stews, and side dishes.
All you have to do is wash them, cut them into smaller pieces, blanch them, flash-freeze them, and transfer them to freezer-safe containers for long-term storage. If you want a quicker option, you can skip blanching altogether.
In this guide, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know to successfully freeze your fresh green beans in a convenient way. So, let’s get started!
Ingredients and Supplies You’re Going to Need
If you want to freeze green beans, then you’ll be happy to know you are just going to need some common supplies you most likely already have in your kitchen:
- 3 lb (1.4 kg) fresh green beans
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Pot of water
- Bowl of ice water
- Slotted spoon
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Zip-lock back or freezer-safe container
- FoodSaver with bags (optional)
- Permanent marker
The best green beans for freezing are, obviously, fresh ones. While green beans are pretty much available year-round, they’re at their peak during the summer months. If you don’t grow them yourself, you can easily find them at the Farmer’s Market.
Aim for smaller-sized green beans that have no blemishes because they’re more tender. Moreover, fresh, crisp, and juicy beans will hold up and taste better after thawing than those which might have spent a week in your refrigerator.
How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans
Just like when freezing fresh carrots, the traditional way of freezing green beans involves blanching the vegetables before storing them in your freezer. The blanching process stops enzyme actions, helping preserve flavor, color, and texture better. In simple terms, if you blanch your green beans, they won’t turn brown and mushy when you thaw them.
To blanch green beans, you have to boil them for a certain amount of time, then quickly transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
While some people don’t notice a significant difference between blanched and non-blanched frozen vegetables, it takes such little time and effort that we find it worth doing. We encourage you to try both methods and see which one you like best!
While you prepare your green beans for freezing, you can save time by putting a large pot of water on the stove and bringing it to a boil. You’ll need about 1 gallon (4 l) of water for every pound (500 g) of green beans. To improve the taste of the beans, you can add a generous amount of salt, approximately 1 tbsp (15 g) per gallon (4 l) of water.
Wash the green beans under cool running water. Since you’re going to blanch them, you don’t need to dry them thoroughly, just enough so they don’t slip from your cutting board when you start chopping them.
Snap or trim off the stem ends. If your green bean variety has a stringy fiber that runs from the top to the bottom of the bean pod, strip them off by breaking the stem end and pulling it down with your fingers towards the pointed end.
Depending on the length of your green beans, and the recipe you plan on using them in later, you can choose to either leave them whole or cut them into bite-size pieces of about 1 or 2 inches long (3 or 5 cm long).
Soup recipes and casseroles, for example, call for cut green beans. Chopping the beans before freezing is way easier than waiting for them to thaw to be able to do it.
If you haven’t done it in the prepping stage, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remember that you’re going to need 1 gallon (4 l) of water for every pound (500 g) of green beans. Optionally, you can salt to improve the taste. About 1 tbsp (15 g) per gallon (4 l) of water should do the trick.
Prepare a large bowl of ice water by filling 2/3 of the bowl with water and adding at least a whole tray of ice of about 12 cubes.
Drop the green bean pieces into the boiling water and blanch them for 3 minutes. Depending on the number of beans you have, you might need to work in small batches. Avoid overcrowding them in the pot so that they cook evenly.
Use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer the beans to the ice bath. Let them cool for 3 minutes to stop the cooking process.
Drain the carrots in a colander, or set them out to air-dry on several layers of clean paper towels. Here’s where it’s crucial to thoroughly dry the green beans so they don’t clump together in the freezer. Pat them dry with a kitchen or paper towel if necessary.
If you’re working in batches, repeat the process with the remaining beans. Remember to add more water to the pot (preferably, hot water) and more ice to the bowl as needed.
Flash-freezing your beans help prevent freezer burn and preserve the quality and standard of your food better. Moreover, it will allow you to reach into the freezer and grab the exact amount of beans that you need for your dishes, instead of having to thaw a big clump that you’ll have to measure later.
It’s not complicated at all, simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper so that the beans don’t stick to the surface. Lay out the beans in a single layer, making sure to leave enough space between them so that they aren’t touching each other. Overlapping them will lead to them freezing as a big mass.
If you don’t have enough room on the baking sheet for all the green bean pieces, use multiple baking sheets, and if you don’t have enough room or in your freezer for more than one sheet, do this step in batches.
Flash-freeze the green beans for 1 to 2 hours, or until frozen solid.
Transfer the green bean pieces to a zip-lock bag or freezer-safe container. When using bags, you want to remove as much air as possible from them to prevent freezer burn. You can either tuck a straw in the corner of the bag to suck the air out, or submerge the bag in water up to the zip so that the pressure of the water pushes all the air out, and then close it.
If you’re using a container, make sure to leave a ½-inch (2.5 cm) headspace (the space between the top of the food and the lid of the container) so there’s enough room for expansion. Wipe the rims and check that everything is completely dry before freezing.
Use a permanent marker to label and date your chosen container so that in the future you know exactly how long your beans have been in storage.
All that’s left now is placing your green beans back in the freezer!
How to Freeze Green Beans without Blanching
For quickly freezing your green beans, you can skip the blanching step as they’ll still be safe to eat. The only downside is that you might have slightly discolored beans, but there’s not much of a noticeable difference in terms of texture and flavor.
Wash the green beans under cool running water and dry them thoroughly. You can use a paper towel to pat them dry, or just let them air-dry for half an hour or so.
Trim the stem ends off and remove any stringy fiber by breaking the stem end and pulling it down with your fingers towards the pointed end.
Leave the pods whole, or cut them into more manageable pieces of about 1 or 2 inches long (3 or 5 cm long). Your choice will depend on the length of the green beans, and what you plan on using them for later.
Place the beans in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread them so that they don’t overlap and freeze together in a big clump.
Use multiple baking sheets and freeze in batches if you don’t have enough room on the baking sheet or in your freezer for all the green bean pieces.
Flash-freeze the green beans for 1 to 2 hours, or until frozen solid.
Transfer the frozen green bean pieces to a zip-lock bag or freezer-safe container.
Remove as much air as possible from bags by tucking a straw in a corner to suck the air out, or submerge it in water up to the zip so that the air is released, and then close it.
Leave a ½-inch (2.5 cm) headspace (the space between the top of the food and the lid of the container) on containers to give enough room for expansion. Wipe the rims with a kitchen towel and make sure everything is completely dry before freezing.
Label and date your chosen container with a permanent marker to remember exactly how much you have and how long your beans have been in storage.
And back to the freezer they go!
A FoodSaver is a vacuum sealer system that helps you preserve the freshness and flavor of your food by removing all the air from bags and containers.
You can either use premade bags or cut them to the size of your liking out of the vacuum seal roll. If you’ve cut the bag out of the roll, you need to seal one of the open ends. So, turn the machine on, and switch the heat seal on as well. Line up one of the edges in the FoodSaver and hold it for 3 to 5 seconds to let the device seal it.
Now, fill your bag with the right amount of beans, line up the open edge of the bag in the FoodSaver, and hold until the machine stops.
That’s it! Just label the sealed bags and place them in your freezer for long-term storage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frozen green beans can hold up to 8 months in a non-frost-free freezer. Frost-free freezers can produce more freezer burn, so it’s better to use the beans sooner. Frozen beans are still safe to eat after 8 months, but their quality declines.
There’s no need to defrost green beans, as you can add frozen green beans to casseroles, vegetable soups, curry, stews, stir-fries, and side dishes! This is why we recommend labeling the bags of green beans. Having the exact amount of ready-cut beans that you need, makes cooking a lot easier.
When it comes down to it, it all depends on the recipe. If yours calls for you to thaw them, then definitely do so! You can leave them in a bowl in your fridge to thaw overnight.
As you can probably see by now, freezing green beans is terribly easy! Preserving these hearty greens in your freezer is incredibly convenient when you have an abundant harvest that you don’t want to let go to waste.
You can choose whether you choose to blanch the beans or not before freezing them, and then follow our tips to get the best results and enjoy them all year long in different dishes.