Runner beans are a delicious summer crop, but what do you do with all of them when they start to pile up? Runner beans are one of our favourite vegetables in the United Kingdom, and they’re quite simple to cultivate.
As a result, many of us grow them in our own gardens or allotments. However, if you have a big harvest that you won’t be able to consume before it goes bad, you’ll need to know how to freeze runner beans.
To preserve their fresh taste and colour, runner beans should be blanched before being frozen. To do so, dice or slice the runner beans into ribbons or chunks, then remove and discard any hard ends or stringy edges. Blanch in boiling water, cool, and then freeze the runner beans. Use a bean slicer to make cutting your beans easier.
In this article, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of freezing runner beans. It is simple and easy, and you will have plenty of beans to enjoy all winter long!
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How To Prepare Runner Beans For Freezing
Prepare your runner beans carefully before you can think about putting them in the freezer. We do this because it will aid in the retention of the taste, texture, and colour of the runner beans. If you skip this they’ll be flavourless and droopy:
1. Rinse the beans under a cold water tap
Set the runner beans in a colander or wire sieve and rinse them thoroughly. Every so often, shake the colander or toss the beans by hand to ensure that all of the ice cold water reaches them. Allow any residual water to run out of the colander once you’ve finished using it.
A good rinse is also useful for removing insect remains, fertilizer and pesticides, which are sometimes discovered on freshly-picked vegetables.
2. Trim The Ends Of The Beans
Cut off the stem end of the runner beans. This is where they were attached to the plant and it’s often tough and stringy. Some people also like to remove the other end, which is more like a tail. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to do this or not – it doesn’t affect taste or cooking time if you leave it on.
Remove only about 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm) from each end so that there is still enough edible bean remaining.
3. De-string the beans
If you find strings running up the length of the beans, these need to be removed. You can do this by hand or use a bean slicer which makes it much easier and quicker. If you’re doing it by hand, hold one end of the bean in one hand and run your thumb and forefinger down the length of the string. Or alternatively, cut the beans into short lengths (about an inch long) before removing the strings – this is our preferred method as it’s less time-consuming.
When you trim the stems, the pod strings are commonly going to start coming off on their own. If not, use your fingernail to get them started.
Avoid missing any strings. It’s not a great feeling to have one of them trapped in your teeth.
4. With a knife Trim The Beans Into 1- to 2-inch pieces
If you slice or break your beans into smaller pieces before putting them in storage, you’ll save time later. To minimize the beans to a consistent size, make neat, precise cuts. Beans with large, flat pods like runners are commonly cut into square or diamond-shaped pieces by chefs.
Cut them a bit bigger than you think they should be, or they’ll join when frozen.
Once you’ve cut your runner beans, all you have to do is drop them into a pot of water and cook them until they’re tender and delicious.
How to Blanch Runner Beans
Blanching is one of the most essential procedures for freezing runner beans. This easy step is critical in preserving the colour, flavour, and overall quality of the beans while avoiding loss. To blanch your runner beans, heat a pot of water to a boil. Once the boiling point is reached, adjust the heat to a simmer to maintain this temperature. Blanching aims to scald the beans without cooking them, so getting it exactly right is vital.
After that, submerge the runner beans in boiling water for two minutes. When you remove them from the hot water, they should be plump but not soggy or black. If this is the case, they have most likely been overcooked.
You’ll need to chill the beans after removing them from the boiling water and putting them in an ice bath for two minutes. This will bring a halt to the cooking process, ensuring that your runner beans are just right for storing. When the two minutes have passed, pat your runner beans dry with a kitchen towel.
How To Pack and Store Runner Beans
1. Before you package the beans, place on a baking sheet and freeze them
When small quantities of food are all thrown into the same container, they may clump together. One solution is to spread out and chill the runners on another surface before putting them in a freezer bag.
Wait until the beans have hardened to the touch before combining them into a single container. This will usually take 20-30 minutes, although if you like, you can leave them in the freezer until they’re fully frozen.
2. Fill plastic freezer bags with the blanched beans
When the beans have had enough time to dry, they may be placed in their storage container. Fill each bag halfway with water, leaving approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) of headroom at the top. To gently squeeze out any remaining air, press the bags from both sides.
Before sealing up your freezer bags, check them for holes, splits, broken seals, and other indications of damage.
A large, resealable plastic container with a locking lid will also work if you’re short on storage bags.
Consider dividing the beans into precise portions and wrapping them in plastic wrap within each individual bag or container for more convenient preparation.
3. Label the bags with the contents and date
On each bag, write the name of the item and the current month in a visible location. You’ll be able to keep track of how long they’ve been in storage this way. Keep the labels facing outward so you can glance at them quickly.
Simply write “write the date” on your bag, stick it in the freezer, and you’re done. There’s no need to be too fixated about the date because runner beans and similar veggies will keep 2-3 months in the freezer.
4. Be Mindful Of Freezer Burn
If the frozen runners begin to wrinkle or lose their colour, or if huge chunks of ice have formed inside the bag, dispose of them. Similarly, after being placed in the freezer, bags that show evidence of damage should be disposed of. When beans are blanched immediately instead of gradually, they are more vulnerable to freezer burn. Runner beans will freeze burn more frequently if they aren’t adequately dried before being packed away.
It’s a good idea to replace frozen runner beans with a fresh batch even if they appear to be edible. Bacteria may gradually enter, making them dangerous to consume after enough time has passed.
How Long Do Runner Beans Last In The Freezer?
You can store runner beans in the freezer for up to six months before you need to be concerned about their quality declining completely. Runner beans, on the other hand, have a high water content, so they will generally keep for up to a year and are still safe to eat. You should expect the taste and texture of your runner beans to deteriorate over time, however.
As mentioned above, look for signs of freezer burn to determine the quality of the beans. Ice chunks might be large or the colour may be dull, for example. Furthermore, runner beans can acquire a wrinkled look. In this situation, it’s time to bin them.
People Also Ask
Can you freeze runner beans without blanching them first?
To retain their fresh taste and colour, runner beans should be blanched before being frozen. To do this, chop or slice the runner beans into ribbons or chunks, remove and discard any tough ends or stringy edges, blanch in boiling water, cool thoroughly, and then freeze.
What can I do with surplus runner beans?
The natural thing to do with an excess of runner beans, of course, is to freeze them. If necessary, untie and remove the strings from your runner beans before putting them in the freezer in an airtight container.
Why are runner beans good for you?
Runner beans are low in calories and a good source of dietary fibre, potassium, vitamin C and B vitamins. They also contain some beneficial plant compounds that may offer health benefits.
Can you freeze green beans?
Yes, you can freeze fresh green beans by blanching them first in boiling water for two minutes then cooling them quickly in ice water. Drain the beans and put them into a freezer bag or container. They will last up to six months in the freezer.
What’s the best way to store frozen runner beans?
The best way to store frozen runner beans is to spread them out on a baking sheet so they don’t stick together and place them in the coldest part of your freezer.
Are runner beans the same as green beans?
Runner beans and frozen green beans are both types of common beans. However, runner beans are usually longer and have a thinner pod than green beans.
Can you eat the bean in runner beans?
Runner beans-beans, whether black, white, or purple with black streaks, are edible. Soak them until they’re soft before boiling for at least 10 minutes to remove the poisons that are present in all dried beans.
What’s the best way to cook runner beans?
Runner beans can be boiled, steamed, stir-fried, or added to soups and stews. They’re also delicious when eaten raw in salads. The best way to cook runner beans is by boiling them for about 15 minutes until they are tender. You can then add them to a variety of dishes or eat them as they are.