Learning how to freeze green beans can be a great way to quickly preserve even a small amount of beans. There are actually two methods to freezing green beans that are commonly used. I’ll give instructions for both, explain which method is my favorite, and how to test them both for yourself.
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Freezing Green Beans by Blanching
Freezing green beans by blanching is the time-honored way of preserving green beans. Blanching means dropping the beans in a large pot of boiling water for a specified amount of time. The amount of time varies based on the vegetable.
To freeze green beans by blanching:
Wash the beans well. String them if necessary. Cut the beans into pieces if desired.
Heat a large pot of water on the stove. Once the water is boiling, carefully add the beans. Blanch green beans for 3 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander immediately after they are blanched.
The secret to great-tasting green beans from your freezer is to quickly cool the beans after you blanch them. Immediately rinse the drained beans with cold water until cool or add them to an ice water bath. Drain again.
Shake as much water off the beans as possible while in the colander. I also like to remove as much water as possible by drying the beans with a lint-free towel. This helps prevent ice crystals from forming on the beans. Pack into labeled freezer bags and freeze.
Why Blanch Green Beans?
The purpose of blanching green beans is to stop the enzymes in the beans from degrading the beans while they are in the freezer. This is the way most preserving books will recommend. You can print out a copy of this method at the bottom of this post.
Freezing Green Beans Without Blanching
Many people have tried freezing green beans without blanching (including me!) To try this method, wash the beans well. Drain.
For the best product, dry the beans with a lint-free kitchen towel. String the beans if necessary. Cut into pieces if you choose. Pack into labeled freezer bags and freeze. Yes, it’s just that easy. You can print out a copy of this method at the bottom of this post.
My Family’s Preferred Method for Freezing Green Beans
My family actually prefers the green beans blanched before freezing. They are easy to throw in a skillet with a bit of butter and olive oil, some garlic, and saute until hot. This is our favorite way to eat them.
If I were to use unblanched beans for this, I would still have to heat a pot of water and cook them for a few minutes first. I do that cooking all at once for multiple bags of beans during the summer. It makes for a really quick side dish any time of the year.
I also think unblanched green beans tend to be a little tougher and their color isn’t as pretty after being frozen.
Your favorite way to freeze green beans may depend on how you use your green beans after they have been frozen. If you are just dropping them in a pot of soup, blanching may be an unnessary step for you.
See Which Method You Like Best
I recommend freezing at least one bag of green beans each way. After several weeks, cook them your favorite way, noting which bag you used.
A week or so later, try the other method, again cooking them the same way you prepared the first bag. See which method you like best.
Why Not Can Green Beans?
I used to can our beans, but my family had gotten to the point where they weren’t a fan of soft green beans. They preferred them crisp-tender. My kids had gotten to the point where they wouldn’t even eat canned beans. Talk about a waste of time.
However, they love garlic and butter on anything. So crisp-tender beans sauteed in garlic butter is a real winner at my house. We went from no one eating them to everyone loving green beans and even fighting over the last few in the pot at dinner.
I also think frozen green beans are fresher tasting than canned beans. And freezing tends to retain more nutrients in the beans than canning.
But the best reason for freezing green beans versus canning them is the ease of preparation. You need a lot less equipment to freeze green beans than to can them.
(If you do want to can your green beans, A Modern Homestead has an excellent tutorial.)
Two Methods For Freezing Green Beans
Blanching green beans is the time-honored way of freezing green beans.
- fresh green beans
Wash green beans. Remove ends. String the beans if necessary. Cut into pieces if desired.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add green beans. Blanch for 3 minutes.
While beans are cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water.
After beans have cooked, drain. Add beans to ice water. Allow to cool completely. Drain again. Remove any remaining ice.
Shake colander gently to remove all excess water. For best results, pat beans dry with a lint-free towel.
Pack green beans into labeled freezer bags or containers. Freeze.
This method is certainly the simplest method for freezing green beans.
- fresh green beans
Wash beans in cool water. Drain. Dry beans very well. For best results, pat beans dry with a lint-free towel.
Trim ends from beans. String beans if necessary. Cut into pieces if desired.
Pack into labeled freezer bags or containers. Freeze.