As we head into these last few weeks of summer, lots of garden vegetables are ripe for picking. But what if you have too many vegetables? Kevin Lee Jacobs shows us his no-canning tips for how to preserve beans, herbs, leafy greens, onions, and garlic for up to a year by using the freezer and some pantyhose!
To eliminate the enzymes that can alter the flavor of green beans and turn them into mush when frozen, it is necessary to blanch them first. When you blanch, you boil the beans briefly and then plunge them into ice water.
Trimming and slicing: After rinsing the beans in cold water, trim off the ends. Then slice the beans into equal-sized pieces. I cut mine into ½-inch segments. For neatness, I always slice on the bias, as shown.
Blanching: Drop the beans into a big pot of boiling water; cover, and cook for exactly three minutes. Timing begins the moment the beans hit the water. Then transfer the beans to a big bowl of ice water, and chill them for exactly three minutes. Drain well.
Drying and flash-freezing: Lay the beans out in a single layer on a cloth-lined baking sheet. Blot tops of beans with another towel. (Dry beans won't stick together when frozen in a bag.) Then set the baking sheet in your freezer for an hour or so.