Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Preserving Food ~ Blanching Beans, step by step

Ever seen Anne of Green Gables? Where Marilla is sitting on the front porch topping beans, or shelling peas. One by one, they go into the bowl for canning. Only half of her mind was on her task, but she still sat there, topping beans... for hours at a time. Topping beans is like that... a meditation that you just get into rhythm and keep going until you are done. I spent about 4 hours doing this yesterday.

Preserving food for the winter, esp good, in season, local food... well it's like putting money in the bank and buying health care all at the same time. Food is what your body runs on. We use it every day and it should be the best and freshest we can possibly get.

I brought home 2 1/2 boxes of beans from the market the other day to put away. And this is how I do it. I tried at one point, to top them one by one... but this method works much better for me.

Gather the beans into a bunch with all of the stems on one side:

Hold firm and chop all at once. Haha! A handful done in 1/4 the time. I leave the other end on the bean. These beans are so tender and fresh that I don't have to cut it off. It isn't tough at all!

After this I drop them into a HUGE metal bowl that sits next to me... and once the bowl is full, I blanch them in large bunches in my pasta pot. I have to admit it works MUCH better for beans than for pasta. (Not enough water for pasta.)

I drop the beans into the boiling water, and wait 4-5 minutes or until they all turn bright green.

I strain them and then flash cool them in a sink of ice water (this did have ice in it, before I put the beans in.)

Then I put them in large Ziploc bags handfuls at a time. When the bag is full to my liking, I close it most of the way, and then tip the bag into the sink to get the last bits of water out of the bag. Then close up tight and put into a pile for a trip to the freezer.

This is about 2/3 of that box of beans done and ready for freezing. :)

This is all the garbage I ended up getting out of an entire 20lb box of Roma Beans. Fresh is the way to go! Not a moldy bean in sight all day.

And because copying is the most sincere form of flattery; here is Logan, topping beans and putting them into his tea pot (I used a teapot to put more boiling water on top of the beans, and so he thought I was making 'bean tea'. It was quite cute to watch him.)




Lisa said...

This is great. Thanks.
Lisa :)

Nessa said...

How awesome! I bet you get all warm inside when you see your well stocked freezer.


Sarah said...

This is great Val- thanks! Can I ask why we are supposed to blanch before freezing beans? I know that step is always there but I never know why.

Sarah said...

Oh and the Logan pictures are ADORABLE!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Blanching is to break down the enzymes that makes beans have that waxy feel in your mouth, apparently it is good for storage purposes as well, but I have always done it for the feel. If you have ever eaten a bean that has been frozen and not blanched first, it will squeek when you bite into it. Literally. lol!

Anonymous said...

I remember snapping beans when I was very very little with my mom on the front porch while it was thundering and lightening in Virginia. We'd do it for hours and do bushels and bushels of them!!!

Your method is much faster...but I have to say the memories I have of doing it the "old fashioned way" are very dear to me.

Katie said...

Ahhh Anne of Green favorite! Everyone that reads your blog is so lucky, you share such rich and wonderful information!
I am learning a lot from you sister!
hugs :)

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Thanks so much Katie. :)


Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Hahahahha! Bean tea! I love it! He is so adorable!!!

When I get good fresh green beans like that, I don't cut off the other end of the bean either. I think they look prettier that way!

Anonymous said...

Do you not string your bean? We canned yesteday but we have always strung them otherwise you have all of that mixed in when you cook them down.

Val in the Rose Garden said...

DebtFreeMommy ~ These are not string beans... they are Roma beans. No strings. The green beans I get also have no strings. The farm grows all stringless varieties as far as I know.

I don't can beans. But I would love to learn how. :)


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