an easier way to freeze peas and beans

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It’s been very hot here this week. Today, with the humidity, it’s supposed to feel like 41C. And, as things usually go, the peas and beans are ready to be picked all at the same time. So, we were out in the garden picking vegetables at 7:00 this morning, when the temperature was about as sane as it’s going to be all day. And now the rest of my day is pretty much laid out for me. I’ll be shelling peas and snipping beans to put in the freezer.

This year I’m going to do it an easier way. Blanching vegetables before freezing is the norm usually – to preserve colour and taste so that vegetables can be frozen for up to a year. However, some coworkers have recently told me that they have been freezing their beans, peas and greens raw for years with no flavour or colour loss. And in reality, even though our garden is pretty big, these vegetables will only be in the freezer for a few months before they are consumed.  I also prefer the way the beans keep their crunch better than if they are blanched.

For me, this is the greatest bit of information that I’ve received in a long time. Today I will shell the peas, rinse and snip the ends off of the beans, wash and chop the swiss chard, let them dry, then put them in bags, squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze them.

And then the small squeaky kid and I are going down to the lake for a swim.

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34 thoughts on “an easier way to freeze peas and beans

  1. good news–especially for my swiss chard and peas–we did not grow beans–thanks Heidi–and enjoy your swim

  2. Kerry says:

    Love fresh peas and beans. We’ve frozen this way before – yum!

  3. Heidi, I didn’t realize you still blanched your foods before freezing, I never have as I didn’t know I was supposed to and have never had a problem, you are going to love the taste and enjoy the easier workload in the kitchen.

    • It was a lot nicer to simplify the process. Last year we were up until late some nights, trying to get the blanching done on a worknight. This works much better. I’ve always frozen spinach and peppers this way, so I’m happy to try it with other vegetables too.

  4. Glad you made it outside for the peas! I had been wondering about freezing… Great that you can freeze chard – and without blanching. That’s one fewer jobs for me to do.

  5. Thank you, this is an eye opener for me Heidi. It’s going to save me hours of work freezing my harvest from the allotment.

  6. Mo says:

    Great tip! I had plans to freeze some green beans this year, my first round of plants didn’t get the chance to grow, as a bunny made a nice dinner for himself. I replanted, so hopefully that will give me a nice harvest.

    • I could use a few hungry bunnies around here – my husband got a little overexcited and planted three 60′ rows of lettuce. Not sure what he was thinking there. 🙂 Good luck with your second attempt.

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        I’m thinking maybe he had a subconscious warning about this Summer – seeing as eating lots of lettuce (fruit, watermelon…) are the best way to fight this infernal heat. I know that I got a really bad feeling when our long-haired cat dropped more coat than she ever has…

  7. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Sure hope you have better luck, ’cause when I tried this “shortcut” the beans wound up tasting like sawdust… But, I did find another way that worked beautifully: )
    Rather than waste time trying to keeping a ton of blanching water boiling (not to mention overheating your house): parcooking in the MICROWAVE will also kill plant enzymes (the reason for blanching). By using a 2 quart Pyrex casserole for 2 or 3 minute intervals at medium setting, and tossing in between each to ensure even heating. When the beans just start to look partially cooked (y’know, that darker green, kindof wet-looking colour?) they’re done – but be careful to not overcook. Chill in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain and bag. Beans done this way are almost like fresh-cooked, right out of the garden: )

    • Good tip – thanks. I’ve had mixed results at times with blanching too – sometimes the beans ended up tasteless and a little soggy, other times they were fine. I figure this is worth a try this year. We’ll see how it goes.

  8. Sarah says:

    Wow, this is great timing since Hubby picked a whole bunch of beans this morning. So I did exactly as you said here! Thanks so much Heidi!

  9. Thanks for the tips, I will try that this year 🙂 Enjoy your swim !!

  10. You must be feeling a bit better if you’re out in the garden…I hope so….Diane

  11. That’s awesome – last year we got so many green beans that I was blanching them in the microwave to hold some of the heat down but this is even better – YEA! Thanks for sharing.

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

  12. […] hear all the time that it is too much work to grow and preserve your own food.  Yes, it does take time and work but it doesn’t have to take as much time as you might […]

  13. I thought the main reason for blanching was to slow down the breakdown of vitamins, etc, in the food. I wonder how they fair without doing it?

    • Hopefully it’ll be ok – these will only be in the freezer short term.

    • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

      Hi again, Although I’ve had good success with “straight into the freezer” for peppers, tomatoes and “dry” fruit like blueberries; after all of this discussion – not to mention all the work that goes into growing, picking and prepping just to get this far – thought maybe I should go dig around a bit…
      This info’s from the North Carolina, State Extension Office and, I know I’m dating myself here; ) but d’you (or, more likely your parents) remember when we used to have something similar here – and actually had local Department of Agriculture offices in Ontario?): I know my Mom learned alot – from “Hat Making” to “Tricks with a Mix” – doing different “Units” with the WI (Women’s Institute)…] But I digress, here’s the link:
      http://gaston.ces.ncsu.edu/2009/08/freezing-fruits-vegetables/
      And hey, with all of the renewed interest in “Buy Local” maybe the province should reinstate some of these programs and make Brownie points with country folk AND city types alike? *Hardy, har, har!*

      • I don’t remember that – but my mom was in the WI and I had 12 4-H clubs finished by the time I was done my teens. That’s not really around anymore. Maybe it will come back. Things sometimes go full circle. We tried to send the oldest child to 4-H last year, but it is just getting restarted in this area, was poorly organized and fell apart part way through. It would be great if it ever got back on track.

        • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

          I ran into two ladies, at our Beekeepers meeting last weekend, who are involved with a very active WI near Millbrook. There was one near here as well, but I haven’t heard anything about them recently. Very sad about your 4H, hopefully someone else will take up the challenge? I I know that, amongst many other things, Orono’s 4H Club has consistently showed at the Durham Central Ag. Fair since (well before) I was a kid – perhaps they might have some helpful info? Contact info here:
          http://www.4-hontario.ca/events-calendar/event/durham-east-gftg.aspx

  14. We haven’t blanched anything for years. Too time consuming, fills the house with steam and uses too much water,

    • I’m giving it a try too – we did eat one bag of beans the other day that we just froze without blanching because it was raining and we didn’t want to pick in the rain – and granted, they’d only been frozen a few days, but they were still nice and crisp and tasted fresh out of the garden.

  15. we’re going the opposite way this year. we froze our beans unblanched but they were kind of tasteless so i guess it’s luck. we’ll compare and see-maybe we just expect too much flavor retention from beans because it works so well with fruits.

    • It’s an experiment for me. I’ve had mixed results with beans and blanching in the past – it could have been that the beans had been in the garden a day or two longer than they should have — who knows.

      I’ve always frozen fruit with a bit of a syrup or some fruit fresh to keep the colour. I think I still have a little bit from last summer to finish off before I add any more this year.

  16. I have been doing my Peas like this for years although Last year I did blanch my beans.. This year we already have ‘dry frozen’ some.. I wash them, pat them dry, slice, and lay on trays in the open freezer then put into freezer bags, this way they dont stick together.. and then suck out as much air with a straw on a Zip- freezer bag… I do my soft fruit such as blackberries and raspberries this way too.. 🙂 and it lasts months in the freezer..

    Thank you for this post.. as you confirmed an easier way to freeze. ..
    Blessings to you and yours.
    Sue

  17. […] spring. Sadly, with our sweet cravings, they won’t make it that long. I had plans to pick and freeze beans and peas, but we gave ourselves a bit of a pass on that this year because of heat and general laziness on my […]

  18. DM says:

    You just made my morning! I was JUST about to fire up the stove to blanch the green bean crop when I took a few minutes to read some blog posts. I subscribe to http://oceannah.wordpress.com/ and she mentioned this blog post. 🙂 I love the idea so much I just posted a link on my facebook page to this post. Hope you don’t mind. let me know and I can take it down. DM

  19. Lisa says:

    Can someone please tell me the name of these peas? I remember shelling peas and butter beans when I was a kid in NC but moved away years ago and just can’t find them, I loved those things. I am able to find speckled butted beans at Walmart in the frozen section. Thank you

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