Learning how to freeze green beans is an easy step toward self-sufficiency. If you have a garden, you cannot go wrong when you freeze vegetables. One seed packet of green beans will produce an abundance of plants, and the plants will bear so many bean pods that a family of four could never eat them all during one harvest season. If you don't freeze a good portion of the beans or give them away, much will go to waste.
Preparing the Beans: Pick only premium beans. In other words, do not use beans that are old and limp or beans that are diseased or blemished in any way. Use beans that are crisp enough that they snap when you bend them.
Wash the beans by placing them into a sink or large plastic tub filled with water. Wash the beans several times or until the water runs clean. Snap the stem ends off, and break the bean into bite-size pieces, or leave the beans whole. When snapping into bite-size pieces, some people snap off the stem end as well as the bottom of the bean, but the bottom of the bean does not need to be removed.
If you prefer, you can cut the beans at an angle and make French-style beans. Either way, fresh frozen green beans are delicious. Yellow beans can be frozen in the same manner. For variation, mix green and yellow beans together.
Blanching the Beans: Boil a large pan of water, and add the beans to the water as soon as the water boils. Keep the ratio of beans to water at about one to three. You want the water to return to boiling quickly. Every second the beans are in the water they will be cooking, and what you are trying to do here is simply blanch the beans, not prepare them for the table.
Blanching vegetables before freezing them will stop the aging enzymes, thereby protecting the vegetable from aging and possibly spoiling while frozen. The enzymes and bacteria found on all vegetables and fruits are what cause the produce to ripen and also to deteriorate. If you can stop this enzyme, your veggies will stay fresh.
Blanch the green beans for about three to five minutes, and then immediately plunge the bright green beans (the color will be enhanced when the beans are submerged into the hot water) into ice water. This will stop the cooking process. Cool the beans for the same amount of time it took to blanch them.
Freezing the Beans: Figure about one large handful of beans per serving size per person, and then choose the freezer bags that will be the correct size for one meal. Once you fill the bags, label them immediately. Sharpies or grease pens write well on plastic and, once they dry, they won't smear. Mark all bags, and pop them into the freezer. Labeling the bags with the type of vegetable as well as the date you froze them and the date you feel they should be eaten by is also helpful.
Attention cooks: beware of the dreaded freezer burn. Keep close track of what you have because you don't want to open up a meal for reheating only to discover that it is inedible.
If you're tired of one bad apple spoiling the whole bushel, consider learning how to freeze apples. That way, you can enjoy the fruit all year long.