Saturday, September 22, 2012

Adventures In Gardening: Preserving The Harvest (What to do with all those beans!)

Happy Autumn everyone & welcome to my first (official) "how-to" Adventures In Gardening!

In my last post, I mentioned I was up to my eyeballs in (green) beans this year, so much so that I've been freezing my near daily harvests to enjoy during the colder months. Today I wanted to share with you how easy it is to freeze beans!

Let's get started.  Yesterday I used a fresh batch of harvested beans.  (I clip them off right into zip lock bags so they can go right into the fridge if being used that day or the next - if keeping them longer than than, I like to freeze them).

Regardless of how you grow edibles in your garden, give the beans a quick rinse before cutting.  (I grow my beans on the gate arbors & the birdies love to hang out in the foliage).

I cut both end tips of the beans off, but you may only want to cut off the top where it connected to the vine.  Then I cut the larger beans down into smaller pieces.  Many of the beans are more than six inches long!  If any of the beans feel 'hollow,' pop them open and take out the bean seeds - dry them on a paper plate in a safe spot & you can use them to sow next year!  (All of my beans this year came from seeds I saved from last).

Now that the beans are ready, fill a large pot with water half way & bring to a boil.  Fill a large bowl half way with cold water & add an ice cube trays' worth of ice to the bowl.

When the water comes to rolling boil, it's time to carefully dump the beans into the pot!

Once they're all in, I set my timer for 3 minutes & I stir them a couple of times.

Bring your bowl of ice water close to the stove so you can easily transfer the beans from the pot to the ice water.  I use a large serrated serving spoon to fish the beans out of the pot.


Once all the beans are in the ice water, give them a good stir or two.  I leave them in here for a few minutes.

After a few minutes in the ice water, I drain the beans.

Pick out the ice cubes & then give the beans a few good shakes to help drain the excess water.

At this point they're just about completely cooled off; I let them sit for a few more minutes.

Line a bowl or plate with a paper towel, then dump your batch of beans out onto it to help them dry off a bit.  You can move them around my hand or spoon to give them all a chance to dry.

After a couple of minutes on the paper towel, I place the beans inside a zip lock bag, filling one bag about half way.  (You may need more than one bag per batch of freezing).

Before sealing the bag, I make sure as much of the excess air is out of the bag as possible.  Then I make sure to spread the beans out in the sealed bag as much as I can (so they're not in one big clump & therefore don't freeze that way) before placing flat in the freezer.  

And there you have it!  Takes a little longer than 'easy as 1-2-3' (roughly 20 minutes) but it's well worth the effort.  Add to your favorite cold weather soups, stews & roasts right from the freezer or bring to a low boil in a small pot half filled with water for a side veggie.  Enjoy!

What garden harvests are you preserving now?  Share with us in the comments section below!

Until next time…
aka Bloomin'Chick. Wife, mother of an angel in Heaven, survivor; a real Jersey Girl. (What you see on those reality shows isn't real!) Writer, photographer, joyful gardener (coastal Zone 7b/mountain Zone 6a) & avid reader. Eclectic, creative & happily married late 30-something who lives at the sea w/her heart in the mountains who happens to be disabled with Seronegative Arthritis & Fibromyalgia.  I blog about my passions & life at Diggin’ Around and my NJ at NewJersey Through My Eyes.   

Be sure to catch more of my daily garden photo shares via #GardenWalk where you can see what's growing around the world right now & share your garden with like-minded folks!


Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand said...

I am into dehydrating string beans tossing them in EVO blending fresh herb seasonings and spices with Himalayan Salt for healthy snacks...

Jo said...

Sounds yummy Annie!!! Thanks for sharing :o)

Shannon said...

Nice breakdown of the process. I too had so many beans in my garden that I froze a number of them. The only thing I do differently is spread the beans out on a cookie sheet to freeze them so they don't freeze in a block. After a day, I put the frozen beans in a freezer bag.

Jo said...

Thanks Shannon! Great idea re putting the beans on a cookie sheet - we do have a stand alone freezer in addition to the regular freezer but don't have enough room for that but this works well for me (and none freeze in a big clump) :o) Thanks so much for dropping by!