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What do you do with all those GREEN BEANS!

Heaps of beans
Heaps of beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s that time of year again when the garden is in full swing!  Every week I have an abundance of something new, this week it’s green Beans. So the question is, “what do you do with all those green beans?”  Well I have a few ideas for you.  I am usually a pretty busy guy and don’t have a lot of time for a long process.   When your picking beans every day you need a quick way to store them and keep them  fresh.  When I store vegetables I am also concerned with retaining as much vitamins and minerals as possible.
When I pick my beans I wash them in cold water, snap off the stem ends, place in a bowl and cover them with a damp towel and store them in the refrigerator for no more than a day or two.  As you pick a few beans every day, clean them and add to this bowl.  In a day or two you will have enough to process the beans and get them ready to freeze.  Simply boil a large stock pot of water, add a little salt.  When the water comes to a boil drop your beans into the water and bring back to a boil.   Continue to boil for 3 -4 minutes.    Drain off the water and immediately submerse the beans into ice water to shock the beans and stop them from cooking.  This process is called “blanching” and allows the vegetable to retain vitamins, improve color and maintain freshness.

Take the cooled beans from the ice water, drain, spread out onto a clean towel and let dry for a few minutes.  Spread the beans onto a clean sheet tray or cookie sheet and place in the freezer for an hour or two until frozen.  Place the frozen beans into freezer grade storage bags and place in the freezer.  The beans will keep this way without loosing quality for about 1 year.  Just long enough to get you through the winter months and into next years growing season.  Spreading the beans on a sheet tray allows them to freeze individually making it easier to take the amount you need from the bag.
Take this step a little healthier.  Instead of boiling the beans use a  steamer and steam the beans just until tender crisp and the beans are a nice bright green or yellow.

Cooking the frozen beans is easy, just boil some water and place the beans into the water and cook for 3-5 minutes, drain and serve.  You can also steam or microwave the frozen beans.

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