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Whether they are green or dried, beans are versatile, easy to cook, and can last a long time if stored properly. Is freezing a good way to do that? In this article, we’ve done the research to find out if you can freeze green and dried beans as well as other information you might need to know about beans and freezing.
You can freeze uncooked green beans to preserve them for a longer time. You can also freeze uncooked dried beans, but it does not have any added benefit. To freeze raw green beans, you can follow these steps:
- Sort and rinse the green beans. Cut off the ends, remove the strings, and cut them into 1 – 2 inch pieces if you prefer.
- Blanch the beans for 3 minutes and then transfer them to an ice bath.
- Flash freeze the green beans for about 60 minutes, or until firm.
- Store the beans in your container of choice, label them, then put them in the freezer.
That’s all there is to it. However, if you need a detailed explanation or have questions about any steps you might want to skip or other related information, don’t worry because we’ve covered that as well.
How to store dried beans in the freezer
Uncooked dried beans do not have to be stored in a freezer because they keep best in airtight storage containers. In that case, freezing is usually to get rid of pests instead of preserving the beans. However, if you want to cook your dried beans and freeze them for later use, you can follow these steps:
- Clean and sort through your beans. Sometimes rotten beans can get into your mix, so it’s best to spread them out, give them a quick check and take those out. Give the beans you’re going to use a quick rinse.
- Soak your beans to reduce your cooking time. You can either soak them overnight or for 12 hours or do a quick soak. Put your beans in a large pot and fill it with water. The water should be about an inch high or three times the volume of the beans. Next, put your stove on high, and cook them for a minute or two. Then, take the beans off the stove and let them soak for about 60 minutes.
- Drain the water from the soak, and then fill your pot with about 2 inches of water. Then put your beans back on the stove, and cook them on high heat until they are tender, which can take 30–75 minutes. Cooking time may vary depending on the kind of beans and how long they’ve been in storage.
- Take your beans out from the pot and let them cool. You can also spread them out on a baking pan to help them cool faster. Once they’ve cooled, scoop them into your container. Some prefer to use airtight containers or freezer-safe mason jars, but freezer bags work just as well.
Can you freeze beans that have been soaked but not cooked?
To freeze beans that have been soaked but not cooked, just drain the soaked beans, then put them into their containers. It might also help if you flash freeze them on a baking sheet for 60 minutes or longer before doing so.
How long will dried beans last in the freezer?
Generally, beans can last up for almost an indefinite amount of time if stored in dry, air-tight containers away from extreme temperature changes. In the freezer, uncooked dried beans would also last a similar amount of time, especially if there is no freezer burn. Although, they do start to lose their nutritional value after 2 or 3 years. After 5 years, they lost their vitamins. Conversely, cooked dried beans will only last for up to 1 year in the freezer.
How do you prepare beans for freezing?
1. Select and wash the beans
Generally, you should use young and tender beans for freezing because they tend to hold up better in the freezer. So, sort through your beans and remove the ones that look older, duller, or moldy. Next, take the ones that you’ve selected and rinse them in cold water.
2. Take off the ends
Cut off or snap off both ends of the beans and remove the stringy fiber that comes with them. At this point, you can cut the beans into smaller pieces, about 1–2 inches long, to make them easier to store and easier to use.
3. Blanch the beans
Divide the beans into batches, and submerge them in a pot of boiling water for about 3 minutes. Some sources use a range of 2–4 minutes or until the beans are tender. You can also add a bit of salt to the water to help soften them. While the beans are boiling, you can prepare an ice bath for the next step.
After boiling, take them out and plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Then, take them out of the ice and onto a paper towel or kitchen towel to dry.
4. Flash freeze the beans
Spread the beans out evenly on a baking sheet (lining with parchment or wax paper optional) and freeze them for 60–120 minutes, or until firm. This process freezes each piece individually to keep them from clumping together when they’re frozen.
5. Put the beans in a container and freeze them
For packing your green beans, you have the following options:
- Ziplock bags or freezer bags - Freezer bags are cheap, easy to find, and easy to use. To help minimize chances of freezer burn, squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing them.
- Mason jars - These jars are a good option for freezing as most of them are freezer-safe. However, for added precaution, make sure to use the kinds that are wide-mouthed with straight edges. Also, try not to fill the jars up completely. You can read more about using mason jars for freezing in this article.
- Vacuum-sealed bags - If you have the equipment, vacuum-sealing is a good option for freezing your green beans. It allows you to store them for longer, with minimal changes to the quality. Just remember to freeze them in portions that you will use right away because it’s hard to reseal them once they’re opened.
- Other airtight and freezer-safe containers
For added convenience, you can label your containers with the date of storage to keep track of how long they’ve been in the freezer. Finally, place them in your freezer, making sure that it’s at a temperature of 0°F.
Can you freeze green beans without blanching?
To save time and effort, you can freeze green beans without blanching, and they will still maintain their quality for the same amount of time that blanched beans would. They will also last for the same amount of time.
If you want to skip this step, after washing your beans, immediately flash freeze them before freezing. However, it is always recommended to blanch green beans when you want to freeze them, especially if you plan to freeze them for a long time.
Why do you have to blanch green beans before freezing?
Blanching green beans before freezing them helps preserve their quality by inactivating enzymes that cause them to lose their texture, color, nutrients, and flavor over time. The process also helps get rid of dirt or bacteria that rinsing or washing might not remove.
How long do raw beans last in the freezer?
When kept in a freezer at a temperature of 0° F, raw green beans should last for approximately 12–18 months. However, some sources recommend consuming them within 8–12 months to get the most out of their flavor, texture, and nutrients.
While you do not take the same steps to prepare green and dried beans for freezing, both kinds will last in the freezer for a long time. Now that we’ve given you the steps, you can try them out and see what works for you.
If you want to learn how to freeze other kinds of foods, you can check out articles like this and many more at ForFreezing.com