Thursday, September 3, 2009

Freezing purple beans

Last year, when we cut down the tree in the backyard, I noted that the garden would have to produce some food to offset the small amount of carbon that the weedy tree would have sequestered.

Today, the garden is producing. There are many pounds of carrots in the ground, there's more chard than I can eat, the beet greens are turning into triffids.

One of the most spectacular plants is the Royal Purple Bean. They're essentially a green bean, but they grow a glorious purple. In all honesty, I'm not a big fan of green beans, but I rather like these ones. They've got a bit nicer flavour and texture than most of the waxier beans I've had. The seeds came from Brother Nature, and are one of the more successful plants I've started with their seeds. In fact, the six or seven vines are producing more than I can (or want to) eat.

The curious thing about these beans is they turn green when cooked.

Today I picked a pound or two of them and decided to freeze them. I basically followed the instructions on this site, but I made one change, as Brother Nature suggested that the colour change is about the right amount of time for blanching.

Freezing Royal Purple Beans
  1. Pick and rinse the beans
  2. Drain and end them, cut into about 1" pieces
  3. Place in boiling water until they just turn green (about 2 minutes)
  4. Drain and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water (use lots of ice)
  5. Soak in ice water for 2-3 minutes to cool
  6. Drain thoroughly
  7. Place in airtight freezer bag and place in freezer
It's also a good idea to mark on the bag what's in it, in case you freeze a lot. If you're freezing veg, do it immediately after picking. Leave the purple beans on the vine to look pretty until they're ready.

Now I'll have some tasty, homegrown purple beans this winter. Best of all, by the time the long weekend is over, plenty more will have grown to feed me next week.


KarenInTo said...

I'm enjoying your recent posts, Craig! Blanching and freezing is a great way to preserve fresh vegs. Nutrition sites claim that frozen-from-fresh vegs are just as good as fresh. Mainly I've frozen broccoli (grabbed up as much at a time as the store allowed when it was on sale; then went back in and got more at a different cashier), which fed me well into the winter.

If you've got lots of chard, there MUST be a way to freeze it. I have Europe's Best spinach (on sale with coupons), and it consists of little rectangular packets of the greens that steam up nicely. A quick blanch of the best leaves (after removing stems and centre veins) might be the way to go.

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