Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve green beans. Frozen green beans have more nutrients than pressure canned beans.
Giving the green beans a quick blanching in boiling water before freezing them ensures that they will retain great texture and color when you get around to cooking with them.
The single layer initial freeze prevents the green beans from clumping together. The fact that they stay loose is a big advantage when, for example, you have a quart container of frozen green beans but only need to take out half that much for a recipe.
Here are the easy steps for freezing green beans:
Clean and Snap off Stem Ends
Wash the green beans well in cold water. Drain. Snap off the stem ends. If they are at all stringy, strip off the strings by breaking the stem end and pulling it down towards the pointed end. But its increasingly rare to find stringy green beans.
Depending on how long your green beans are, you can either opt to leave them whole, or chop them into 1 to 2-inch long pieces.
While you are preparing the green beans, have a pot of water coming to a boil on the stove. Also get a big bowl of ice water ready.
Once you have prepped the beans and, if desired, chopped them into pieces, drop the green beans into the pot of rapidly boiling water. Let them cook for 3 minutes. Drain the green beans in a colander. Alternatively, you can steam the beans for 3 minutes rather than boiling them.
Immediately transfer the blanched green beans to the bowl of ice water. This stops the residual heat in the vegetables from continuing to cook them. Leave the beans in the ice water for 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a colander and leave them to drain well for a few minutes.
Single Layer Freeze
Spread the blanched and chilled green beans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 - 2 hours.
It is not necessary to thaw frozen green beans before cooking them.
Subtract the 3 minutes the beans were blanched from the cooking time when you cook your frozen green beans.
You can use this same method to blanch and freeze wax beans.