Preserving the Harvest: How to Blanch Green Beans

"What in the world is 'Blanching'?", you may ask? 

 Simply put, blanching is an easy technique used to keep vegetables crisp and tender. By boiling vegetables briefly and chilling them in ice water, blanching preserves texture, color and flavorThis process slows or stops the action of enzymes. Up until harvest time, enzymes cause vegetables to grow and mature. If vegetables are not blanched, the enzymes continue to be active during frozen storage causing off-colors, off-flavors and toughening. If you want to preserve that "garden-fresh" flavor, then blanching is the way to go.

Since green beans are a very common garden vegetable that many people have an abundance of, here is a step-by-step, simple tutorial on how to blanch green beans.

How to Blanch Green Beans

1. After snipping the ends off of your green beans (my kiddos and I do this with scissors..it's so much quicker!), put them in the sink or a large bowl to wash.

2.  Rinse them well and drain the water and re-rinse until the water is clear.  See how yucky the water was the first time?  Green beans can be really dirty!

3.  Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  (Let this begin while you are snipping your beans.)  While a pot with a removable colander is not necessary, it is very handy!  Because of the colander, if I have a large batch of beans to blanch, I can continue to use the boiling water for each batch.  If you do not have one, don't despair!  You can always just strain your beans in a colander over a large pot or bowl and then pour your water back into your pot.

4.  Add your clean beans to the boiling water.  Allow to boil for 3 minutes.  Stir them atleast once.
5.  While your beans are boiling, fill a large bowl with ice and cold water.

6.  When 3 minutes is up, quickly drain and plunge into the ice water.  Allow to cool for 1-3 minutes. (This cooling time depends upon how much ice you use.)

Aren't they pretty?

7.  Drain the ice water off of your green beans.

8. Pack into your freezer bags, label and throw in the freezer.  You're done!

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