**Welcome if you’re visiting An Oregon Cottage for the first time! If you’re interested in freezing and preserving tips and techniques, you’ll want to check out our preserving category which includes freezing snap peas without blanching, an amazing, Addictive Tomato Chutney, and our popular Easy Garlic Refrigerator Pickles.**
Want to spend less time freezing the season’s green beans and have a better texture after freezing? Then follow my steps to freeze green beans – without blanching first.
Yes, I know everything you read says the “proper” way to freeze beans is to blanch first (immerse in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunge into an ice bath). Yes, I know there’s supposed to be an enzyme that will make the beans break down in the freezer if you store them without blanching.
However, I did a little test last year. And I’d like to challenge you to do the same test and see what you think.
Our family used to eat canned green beans. That’s how I grew up and so I never liked the rubbery texture of frozen beans. When I started growing beans, I pickled them and even learned to pressure can, just so I could can green beans. But then we had a child – a picky child – who decided she didn’t like canned green beans anymore, but who would eat them if they were frozen or fresh. Since beans were one of only three vegetables she would eat, guess who started freezing beans?
Except I still didn’t like that texture (or the weird squeaking sound they can make as you chew…). So last summer I did some research. I found mostly the recommendation to blanch, of course, but I also found two rebel souls on gardening forums who said they didn’t blanch their beans and they came out “perfect.”
What, really? I had to try it.
I chopped up the beans like I normally did, but then I put them directly into freezer bags.
Update: many people have asked about washing the beans first, so here’s my answer: I don’t. I garden organically and grow pole beans (here’s where I wax poetic about my favorite pole bean, Emerite) so the beans never touch the ground. I trust my cleanliness when picking them. If you are not sure of any of these things, you can choose to wash them – but you will need to dry them thoroughly before freezing to avoid crystals.
And then I used my straw “vacuum sealer” trick to remove as much air as I could from the baggie before sealing and freezing. I froze the bag for two weeks and then served them for dinner – which wasn’t easy when fresh beans were still available, that’s for sure.
We couldn’t tell a difference from beans that had been blanched. I thought the texture was a little better, too. BUT – maybe it was because it had only been two weeks. Maybe that enzyme takes longer to start breaking the beans down.
So, I froze ALL our remaining beans that way. Yep – I didn’t blanch any beans last year at all. But I waited to tell you about it until I knew that they could be frozen for longer than two weeks. I needed to know if they’d last a whole year and hold up like blanched beans. And guess what?
They are just as good – if not better – than green beans we took the time to blanch in the past.
The texture seems better – and my family agrees with me. Really. This year I’ve already put up 8 quart bags of beans – in about an hour. It certainly goes quick when there’s no blanching involved.
So my challenge? Be a rebel like me – try it and tell me if you think so, too.
Like more information? Click here to see a complete how-to companion video!
2015 Note: I’ve heard from a couple of readers who tried this method and didn’t care for it – and many more who’ve loved it like we do – and so my suggestion is to try this with a quart, let them freeze for about a week or two, cook them and see what your family likes. I want to be clear that they are still like home-frozen green beans, not firm like fresh, but when cooked in soups and stews for 20 minutes or longer are just as good as blanched frozen beans. So the comparison should be to blanched frozen beans, not to fresh beans.
If you want to serve them as a side dish, not just in soups, I’d suggest a longer cooking method – my family likes them long-cooked (20 minutes) with bacon and onions like this recipe. I’ve preserved them for 5 seasons like this and really will never go back to cumbersome blanching!