How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans to Enjoy All Year
Freezing green beans from your garden or the farmers market is a great way to enjoy them all year long. We'll teach you how to freeze green beans, including prepping, blanching green beans, and storing them so they don’t get freezer burn.
Can you freeze fresh green beans? You bet you can. Green beans are quite easy to freeze, and they last several months in the freezer so you can enjoy the taste of garden-fresh goodness—even when it’s colder outside than it is in your freezer. Plus, frozen green beans are a convenient and flavorful addition to many recipes. (Try ‘em in cozy green bean casseroles, soul-warming stews, stir-fries, and more.) Follow our step-by-step guide to learn everything you need to know about freezing green beans so you can pull them out and enjoy them any day of the year.
Step 1: Trim Green Bean Ends
Before getting started with actually freezing beans, gently wash fresh greens beans with cool tap water. Then, working with a small handful of green beans at a time, line up the stem ends. Using a sharp chef's knife (we love this J.A. Henckels Chef’s Knife, $39.99, Target), slice off the stems. Repeat with remaining green beans. If you want, you can also trim off the tapered tail ends.
Test Kitchen Tip: Some varieties of green beans have a stringy fiber that runs from the top to the bottom of the bean pod. If the beans you're using have this string, be sure to remove it from each bean.
Step 2: Cut the Beans Into Bite-Size Pieces (If You Want)
A lot of recipes, including soup recipes and casseroles, call for cut green beans. If you want, you can save yourself some prep work later and cut them into 1-inch pieces before freezing the beans. You can also leave the beans whole and freeze them, then chop them later if your green bean recipe calls for it. Up to you! (By the way, if you have a huge crop to use up, freezing is just one of 10 ideas for using up produce before it goes bad.)
Step 3: Blanch the Green Beans
Blanching green beans for freezing just means boiling them in water for a few minutes, then dunking them in ice water. So why blanch green beans before freezing, when you could just freeze them fresh? This quick extra step will help the beans keep their color and flavor while in your freezer.
Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Allow 1 gallon of water per pound of green beans. While you're waiting for the water to be ready for blanching green beans, fill a large bowl with ice water. Working in batches, carefully lower the green beans into the boiling water. Boil small beans for 2 minutes, medium beans for 3 minutes, and large beans for 4 minutes. Cool the beans quickly by plunging them into ice water. After the beans have cooled, drain them from the ice water.
So can you freeze cooked green beans? We’d recommend doing so only if you’re blanching green beans briefly prior to freezing or if you’re assembling a whole dish for freezing, such as a make-ahead casserole or soup. Otherwise you risk running into mushy green beans that will add to much moisture to your recipe after you defrost.
Step 4: Prepare the Beans for Freezing
Pack the drained beans into freezer-friendly jars, storage bags, or containers (such as this Rubbermaid Food Storage Set, $39.99, Bed Bath & Beyond). Shake each package to compact the beans. Add more beans, leaving ½-inch headspace if using a jar. Wipe the rims and storage packages dry before officially freezing fresh green beans. Press out as much air as possible, then seal the bags or containers according to the manufacturer instructions. If necessary, use freezer tape around the lid edges for a tight seal.
Test Kitchen Tip: Allow 1½ to 2½ pounds of green beans per quart container.
Step 5: Freeze the Packaged Green Beans
Label each container or bag with its contents, amount, and date. Lay bags flat; add bags or containers to your freezer in batches to make sure they freeze quickly. Leave some space near bags or containers so air can circulate around them. (Struggling to find space? Try these genius refrigerator and freezer organization ideas.)
When frozen solid, the bags or containers can be placed closer together. For the best flavor, use your frozen green beans within 8 months of freezing.
How to Choose Green Beans for Freezing
For the freshest flavor, you want to be a little choosy when you're picking green beans to freeze, whether they're homegrown or from the farmers market. The peak season for green beans runs from May to October, so you'll probably have the best luck with beans you buy in those months (though you can find yummy green beans at the grocery store year-round). Choose crisp, brightly colored green beans that are blemish-free and avoid green beans that are limp or have shriveled ends.