Putting Food By – Freezing Beans and Broccoli

Summer’s bounty can extend through the year with a minimum of work.  Gardeners and farmers know crops taste best in season, but freezing or canning food at its peak is nearly as good.  I take time when we have enough extra to freeze and can “treats” for later use.  Today I blanched and froze beans and broccoli.

First I nip the ends off the beans

Then place them in boiling water.  I usually watch for the color change.  If you are new to this check a source like Stocking Up or Putting Food by for approximate blanch time.  Larger beans take longer.  The ratio of boiling water to quantity of beans is another factor.  You want to arrest growth so the beans are held at peak rather than enzymes continuing to work so your beans taste like cardboard in January! 

Once you have blanched you want to stop the cooking so you don’t have mush.  Place the beans in cold water or ice water and chill.

 

 

 

I place on cookie sheets to freeze and bag 12 – 24 hours later.  I find this makes it easy to grab enough for one meal and leave the rest for later.  Some people freeze individual smaller portions and remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.  Experiment and see what you like best.

Today I also have broccoli to freeze. The process is the same.  If I do have multiple crops, I start with the mildest flavor ad work to stronger flavored vegetables.  Who wants beans that taste like broccoli?

 

Although I sometimes wonder why I am spending the time in summer doing this, I always am glad I did once I pull something out of the freezer in January or February!

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