Beans are a cheap source of protein and fiber. There are times when you have recipes that require beans. However, using the canned version will not bring out the flavor you want to achieve. Or, you may want to take advantage of the good quality of beans in season but have not yet think about the recipes where you can use it.
In both situations, frozen beans can be used while still retaining its freshness. Two methods can be used when freezing beans. It can be through blanching method or the easier way, direct vacuum sealing. The success of either method depends on the quality of beans. Fresh beans are those that are not too mature and still have that crunch when you try to split them. Also, the presence of chemicals in the beans may affect its quality when freezing. So make sure that beans are sourced from reputable farmers.
Just like most of the vegetables, enzymes play an important role in keeping the freshness of beans. Enzymes are responsible for the growth and ripening of fruits and vegetables. After harvest, enzymes cause for the loss of color, flavor, nutrients, and eventual rotting.
Freezing slows the effects of these enzymes to prolong the shelf life. Frozen beans can last up to three months with flavor and nutrients intact.
Moisture is also vital in maintaining the freshness of beans. So it is best to pack them by batch depending on your estimated consumption. This is to avoid exposing the entire beans to the moisture in the air and returning the excess in the freezer.
It is important to check each batch for possible rotten pieces as this may cause spoilage for an entire batch. Batching also reduces the possible effect of rotting since the entire lot of beans does not go entirely in one pack.
Label each packed batch of beans with dates and use each batch first-in, first-out. As you place it in the freezer, do not place heavier goods on top of the beans to avoid squishing of the vegetable.
To thaw frozen beans, soak the packaging in water with cold or at room temperature. Un-pack the beans and pour the contents to a strainer to drain excess water.
How to Freeze Beans
There are two methods of freezing beans. For the blanching method, tools that will be needed are: pot, strainer, paper towel and zip lock plastic bags. Vacuum method will require zip lock plastic bags and a straw.
- Line up your beans in a chopping board and cut the tips.
- Blanch the beans in boiling water for 3-5 minutes until they are slightly cooked. It doesn’t need to be really cooked for it will lose its crunch, color and nutrients.
- Collect your beans using a strainer and immediately soak it in ice water for 3-5 minutes. This is done to stop the cooking process the heat is doing to the beans.
- Towel-dry the beans and place it by batch in each zip lock plastic bag.
- Remove the tips of the beans.
- Place it by batch on each zip lock plastic bag.
- Leave a small portion of the zip lock open, enough to insert a straw.
- Use a straw to completely suck the air out of the plastic bag and lock the bag afterwards.
Stir Fried Beans
Stir-fried beans can be an easy fix for breakfast or a light-dinner. This dish is made up of soy sauce and sugar. A handful of ground meat can also be added.
Sautéed Green Beans and Carrots
Beans are popular side-dishes that add color for any entrée. This recipe calls for butter or oil, beans, and carrots. This is best half-cooked to retain the vegetables’ crunch.
Fried Green Beans
Beans can also be served as an appetizer or snack. This recipe uses egg and flour as breading for the deep-fried beans. This can be a more nutritious alternative to your regular French fries.