How to Freeze Green Beans (a step by step tutorial)

A step by step photo tutorial on how to preserve green beans by freezing them. It’s super easy, plus they taste SO much better!

A step by step photo tutorial on how to preserve green beans by freezing them. It's super easy, plus they taste SO much better!

One of the ways that I save quite a bit of money on groceries is by preserving lots of fruits and vegetables.  While we live in the city and don’t have room for a big garden, we’re blessed to live in an area where we can get lots of beautiful, home grown produce for great prices.  So I simply buy large amounts from local growers and then preserve them for us to enjoy all year long.

I know that canning and freezing produce sounds really daunting to many people and so this year, I’m hoping to do a couple of tutorials to show you just how simple the process really is.

I’m starting with how to freeze green beans because not only are they probably one of the easiest things to preserve, I also just got done doing 1½ bushels of them and actually managed to take a few pictures as I was doing it.  (Not an easy feat when you have 3 children interrupting your process!)  Besides, green beans are one of those things that just taste so much better when you preserve them yourself.  Just recently I saw a great deal on some frozen beans at the store and decided to buy a couple of bags thinking it would help stretch our supply.  I made them for our dinner one night and after one bite my husband commented, “It’s no wonder so many people don’t like vegetables!”  And honestly, I had to agree.  They just were nowhere near as tasty as the ones that I preserve and freeze!

You can preserve your beans by canning or freezing them.  If you choose to can them, you need to use a pressure canner since using a regular canner doesn’t reach high enough temps to kill the bacteria that causes botulism.  I find the pressure canning process rather time consuming and tedious plus it also makes the beans less nutritious.  Did you know that frozen veggies and fruit have almost as much nutritional value as when they are fresh?  So I choose to simply freeze our green beans which you’ll see, is amazingly super simple to do.

Okay, let’s channel your inner Ma Ingals and get started!

THE SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED:
* Dish pan(s) or container to put the beans in
* Knife (love this one!)- if you don’t want to use your fingers to trim the beans
* Blanchercan use a big pot too but it gets kind of complicated when it comes time to drain the beans and cool them quickly
(Don’t have a blancher and don’t want to buy one?  See if you can find a friend that has one that you could borrow.)
* Freezer bags or freezer boxes to store the beans

HOW TO FREEZE GREEN BEANS- A STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL

How to Freeze Green Beans (cutting)

1.  Remove ends and defective spots and if you have true “string” beans, remove the strings too.  Technically you don’t have to remove the tail end of the bean, just the end that was attached to the stalk.  However, I don’t like the look of leaving them on so I remove them too.

How to Freeze Green Beans Cut

2.  Break or cut the beans into 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces.  This is a step that even little children can help with- in fact, they often think it is fun!

How to Freeze Green Beans (water)

3.  Wash the beans thoroughly.  I like to put a dishpan full of beans in my sink and then just fill it with water.  Swish the beans around really good to work any dirt loose.

How to Freeze Green Beans (in blancher)

4.  Move the beans over to the colander insert of your blancher, filling it to just below the ridge.  Basically you want the beans to not go above the top row of holes so that they will be covered with water during the blanching process.

How to Freeze Green Beans (blancher)

5.  Fill the kettle part of the blancher about 2/3 to 3/4 full with water.  You don’t want it too full because the water level will rise once you put the colander full of beans into it.   Bring the water to a full, rolling boil.

How to Freeze Green Beans (on stove)

6.  Slowly (this is important so that the water doesn’t go splashing out!) insert the colander full of beans into the boiling water.  Once you put the beans in, the water will stop boiling.

How to Freeze Green Beans (boiling)

7.  Watch the pot carefully and once the water comes to a rolling boil again, remove the beans immediately.  You basically just want to slightly cook the beans.  (In the picture above I wasn’t watching the pot closely enough and it had been boiling for a bit when I noticed it.  You don’t really want that much of a boil!  It isn’t tragic, but the beans just won’t taste quite as good.)

How to Freeze Green Beans (in sink)

8.  While you are waiting for the beans to boil, draw some cold water (the colder the better) in a dishpan or sink.  Once you remove the beans from the boiling water, submerse the colander into the cold water and cool the beans down as fast as possible.  It helps to swish the colander around in the water, keep the water running, use your hands to move the beans around and even change the water if necessary.

How to Freeze Green Beans (draining)

9.  Once beans are nice and cool, drain the water off of them.

How to Freeze Green Beans (boxes)

10.  Put the blanched beans in freezer bags or freezer boxes and freeze immediately.  I typically use freezer boxes to freeze our food just because I like the way they store and it’s also cheaper in the long run since you can use them over and over and over.

And you’re done!  Pat yourself on the back, put up your feet and relax a bit!

Have a question about one of the steps?  Feel free to leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer it for you!

A step by step photo tutorial on how to preserve green beans by freezing them. It's super easy, plus they taste SO much better!There are affiliate links in this post – please read my full disclosure policy.

Comments

  1. says

    I love canning green beans, but I haven’t ever frozen them. I will have to give it a try. When I was a girl I loved swinging with my grandma and breaking the beans. We would just sit on the porch for hours swinging, talking and snapping the beans.

  2. says

    This is great and what a budget saving tip! My father-in-law grows lots of green beans and we usually have an overabundance of them! I’ll have to keep this in mind.

    Thanks so much for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Oh, it’s a great way to save those yummy green beans to enjoy later on in the year, Jennifer!

  3. says

    I have never frozen green beans, I pickle them yearly though. When you freeze them how long do they stay good? Is there a recommended time to eat them in? I am the only one in the family that likes green beans, if I could freeze them in small batches I could have my very own stash!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Oh, I’ve heard of pickling green beans, but have never tried it. I’m not a pickle fan, but my husband loves them and would probably enjoy if I did green beans that way.

      About how long frozen green beans stay good- they should be fine for at least a year, if you use a deep freeze. (I’ve discovered fridge freezers don’t seem to stay as cold and as a result, don’t keep things as well.) I’ve actually had some a little longer and they’ve been okay too. It’s not like they spoil or anything, but the quality might slowly deteriorate.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Stephanie, they taste a bit different than fresh ones, but I don’t think it’s a bad different. Have you ever had frozen green beans from the store? They are similar to that, only better because the ones from the store usually taste like they blanched them too long.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      You can cook them either frozen or partially thawed. Just add a bit of water (I typically do 1/2 to 1 cup per quart) and salt and then cover and simmer until they are as done as you like them. Some people prefer them slightly crunchy, others prefer them cooked until they are totally soft. Drain the water, and if you want, add some butter and/or other seasonings such as pepper, then enjoy!

  4. Christina says

    I’m so glad I found this tutorial. I was looking for freezing green beans specifically and I’m excited to see it. Like you said in your post, frozen green beans just do not taste good and I’m trying not to buy the canned kind anymore because of all the salt in them. I will definitely be putting this tutorial to good use :)

  5. says

    This was very helpful for me, as I think beans may be the only thing I manage to grow this year at our new house. Thank you for sharing your skills :-)

  6. Tia Guffey says

    How long do frozen green beans last? I have 16 bushes of beans growing so I know I won’t use them all in a couple sittings. Thank you so much for this!!!!!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Tia, I don’t know what the official response is, but I’ve had them in the freezer a year, sometimes longer, and they still taste great! And I’m jealous of those 16 bushes of beans. :) Glad to help!

  7. says

    Hello and thanks for the tutorial.
    Can you please explain why is it necessary to blanch them before freezing?
    I also freeze green beans but I skip the blanching.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Ana, from my understanding it basically helps preserve their flavor, nutrition and color. Here’s how the National Center for Home Food Preservation explains it: Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins.

      Hope that helps!

  8. Alice says

    Love the idea of freezing. We planted beans for the first time in our garden. Could you season right away or do you recommend that they be frozen plain.
    Thanks

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Fun! Hope your beans do really well for you. I always think they are kind of fun to pick. I wouldn’t know why you couldn’t season them frozen, although, I wouldn’t do it until you go to put them in the freezer bags. (In other words, don’t season them during the blanching process. I don’t know if it would hurt or not, but I’d hate for you to try it.) The only downside to seasoning before you freeze them is that when you go to cook them before eating, you might lose some of the seasoning in the water.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Brenda, I depends on how soft or crunchy you like them! I typically use a pressure cooker to cook ours and I pressure them for 2 to 3 minutes. When I cook them in a regular kettle, I just periodically check them until they are cooked as soft as we like them. Sorry I don’t have a more exact answer for you!

  9. says

    My favorite thing about the whole post?
    The pictures! Love seeing all that green because it mirrors my kitchen right now!
    I have always canned my beans, but aren’t beans just a lovely and bountiful gift from God?

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      So you’re in the thick of green bean preserving, I take it? :) Yes, I love green beans and they typically produce so nicely! I like canned green beans too, but since I don’t have a pressure cooker to safely can them, I have to stick with freezing them. My hubby prefers the taste of the frozen ones too, so I guess that’s an added bonus!

  10. says

    This brought back lots of great memories of my grandma canning beans. I’m not sure she ever froze them, though! What a great, frugal idea. Pinning it to come back to later. Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad I’m your neighbor at Women with Intention!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Kelsey, I think years ago most people canned them simply because freezer space was harder to come by. I like canned green beans too, but in order to do them safely you have to use a pressure cooker, and I don’t own one. So freezing is just easier!

  11. says

    Thanks for the tutorial! I’m here from Women with Intuition Linkup. The green beans I planted didn’t survive but the okra did and it’s coming in in great abundance! I’ve been rinsing and putting in the freezer till I can get enough to make my okra-tomatoes-shrimp-sausage dish. Any ideas on freezing okra? Many thanks!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Lisa, sorry for the slow response! I thought I had replied to your comment, but apparently got interrupted (yay for having little kids!) and never actually got it done!

      What a bummer that your green beans bit the dust (literally!). :) Gardening can be tough.

      But yay for the okra! I’ve never planted that or tried to preserve it, but I looked in my trusty Mennonite Country-Style Recipes cookbook that has a ton of helpful canning info and it says this:

      Pick pods while still young and tender. Trim off stem; wash thoroughly. Okra may be blanched whole or slice in 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. If blanching whole do not cut into seed section when trimming. Blanche in boiling water for 1 minute for slices or 1 1/2 to 2 minutes for pods. (Water will become gooey with the liquid from the slices. Therefore, some flavor will be lost in the water, but you will be rid of much of the goo with this method!) Okra may be sliced after blanching.

      To Freeze: Cool quickly and drain. Pack containers and freeze immediately.

      Not sure if you are familiar with blanching or not, but the process of boiling produce for just a tiny bit like that helps stop the enzymes from breaking down and will preserve flavor and taste.

      Hope that helps! :)

  12. Mary C says

    I’m having trouble with my beans tasting “pithy” for lack of a better description after I pressure cook them with potatoes and ham. I only pressure cook for the 4 to 5 minutes like my book says. So if I blanched the beans first, would I then be able to put them in the pressure cooker with the ham and potatoes and cook for 4 to 5 minutes without the beans tasting pithy? Or would a crock pot be a better way to cook the beans, potatoes and ham?
    Thanks for your help on this.

    mary c

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Mary, by pithy do you mean soft? Or are you meaning more chewy and tough? If it’s just that they are soft, it’s probably because they are being over cooked. When I pressure my fresh green beans, I only do them 3 minutes. If they were blanched and then frozen, I only do them 2 minutes. And even then, they are pretty soft, which is the way we like them. Obviously if you are pressuring them with the ham and potatoes though you are going to need to do them longer to get the potatoes cooked. I really don’t know how long you need to do them, since I always go by whatever my book says too for that kind of thing. I would guess a crockpot would be the best simply because it would cook it low and slow and that usually creates a really good flavor! Not sure if that was any help, but it’s the best I know! :)

  13. judy says

    I do mine in smaller batches and blanch the beans for 3 min (according to the Ball Canning Book), plunge them in ice water, using lots of ice cubes, drain in a salad spinner then freeze and seal with a Food saver system. Has worked perfectly for 10-15 yrs or more.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Sounds like you got your method down, Judy! Aren’t beans that you froze yourself so much yummier than the store-bought ones?

  14. Jess says

    Thanks for sharing this! I found a great deal on string beans today, after reading this blog entry last night, and was inspired to buy them and store them! It was a bit laborious, b/c I had a big batch….but your instructions were fabulous and I felt so frugal and accomplished after I finished! I’ll be sticking around for more great tips from you!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Yay, way to go, Jess! So glad that this could help you out and congratulations on your first time preserving food. :) Thanks for letting me know that you found the post helpful.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Brian, it won’t hurt anything, but it may end up being a waste of your time, depending on how you plan to use them. If you plan to add water to your frozen green beans when you cook them, then you’ll likely also be draining that water off before you serve them and a lot of the salt and pepper will end up going down the drain with the water. If however, you are planning to use another method to cook your green beans, then I think it should be fine. Just wait to add it until you put the beans in freezer bags or whatever containers you plan to freeze them in.

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Congratulations on the garden! So glad that it’s been a success for you this year. They’re definitely not easy work, are they? And I hope you enjoy the frozen green beans. They’re so easy to do, which is always a plus! 😉

  15. mark says

    I have grown and frozen green beans for years, but we freeze our beans in the water that we blanch them in, and we have kept beans in freezer for a couple years with no problems. Just thought I’d add my two cents!!!!!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      That’s interesting that you freeze them in the water, Mark. I wonder how that helps or benefits them? Thanks for the tip about having frozen green beans for a couple of years. It’s always good to learn from experienced people! :)

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Sharren, it’s not advised. The best way I know to explain it is that blanching stops the process of deterioration, which helps to keep them tasting fresh and keep their nutrition. If you don’t blanch them, they continue to slowly deteriorate, even if they are frozen.

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