Friday, July 18, 2014

{Indian Boundary Line Homestead Bounty} GREEN BEANS

Welcome to my garden

My green beans are coming in right now.

I delayed planting our garden until after we returned from our trip out west.  I did start the starters on Memorial Day and entrusted my grandfather-in-law to baby them while we were gone.  He did a wonderful job!

So, now my green beans are coming what?  Personally, I don't care for green beans (whatev', I'm a corn girl!).  I grow them for my husband and my boys.  But, since the plan is to have as much food on our dinning room table for Thanksgiving come from our garden, I need to start prepping these babies.

There are a few different ways to preserve green beans.

I like to freeze them.  It's super easy and quick and I have the freezer space for it.  I like to use quart size zip lock bags (this is about what we would consume for a normal dinner).  I label the bags with the date that I processes them and then put them in the drop down storage baskets that are in my deep freezer FIFO style (first in, first out).  For Thanksgiving, we will be using two of these quart size zip lock bags to feed everyone that we are anticipating will show up.

Here are the steps that I follow to prepare my green beans for the freezer:

  1. I wash my green beans in cool water
  2. I cut off the ends of the green beans
  3. If they are sting beans, I remove the string 
  4. I cut the beans into bite size portions
  5. I blanch the beans
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil
    2. In a large bowl add cold water and put to the side
    3. Put the beans in a single layer into the boiling water for 3 minutes
    4. Pull the beans, strain and then add to the cold water in the bowl
    5. After the beans have cooled, drain the water
  6. I lay all my blanched beans on a dish towel to dry off
  7. Once dry I pack them into quart size zip lock bags, leaving about a 1 inch head space at the top of the bag.  I don't over pack the bags, trying to only add enough to serve five people.
  8. I make sure that I squeeze as much of the air out of the zip lock bags as possible.
  9. I then put the bag of beans in the freezer.
I use beans preserved like this within 8 months of the date on the bag.  Typically, they don't last past March because we have eaten them all.  Looks like I'll have to increase my bean plantings yet again next year.

Another way to preserve your green beans is by canning them.  You will need to use a pressure canner to process your green beans.  I simple water bath boil will not work as botulism is a risk factor. (This is why I freeze my beans.  I do not own a pressure canner).

Yet another way to preserve your green beans is by pickling them.  I have not tried this yet, but if my garden produces an overabundance of green beans, I may give this a whirl.
SO, why is it okay to use a hot water bath to process pickled green beans but not to simply can them? Because vinegar is an acid and that reduces the need to pressure can to prevent botulism.

Another way to preserve your green beans is by dehydrating them.   I just want to note here, that dehydration is a method for storage.  Foods that are dehydrated need to be re-hydrated prior to consumption.  Here is a handy chart for re-hydrating items.

Dehydrating is WAY different than baking!  So, here is a yummy looking recipe for Crispy Baked Green Beans Fries that I am dying to try out.

So, I'm interested in knowing what bounties you are harvesting this week?
What are you planning on doing with them?
I hear that adding bacon to green beans is AMAZING!  Have you tried it?

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