Lately I've been buying massive bulk bags of green beans the size of my head from Viet Wa and freezing them. This way, I have fresh green beans all month long! I hate feeling especially rushed to use up produce but freezing it makes it so I can relax. Here is your first freezer lesson.
1. Trim your beans and then rinse them in a colander. Compost the end bits or add them to your stock bag.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the beans and blanch them for 3 minutes. Blanching means to boil only for a moment. It is a method of par-cooking. If the beans take up most of the space in your pot, rotate them continuously with a pasta spoon. They will still be firm when they are done but the outside will have turned a brilliant green.
3. Working quickly, drain the beans in a colander and transfer them immediately to an ice bath. Ideally, an ice bath is a large basin of ice water. The purpose of this is to stop the cooking process. If the beans overcook, they will become mushy in the freezer.
If you don't have a large basin or ice cubes on hand (oops!) then do what I did. Fill a large bowl with ice cold tap water and transfer the beans to that. Then, holding the colander on top of the bowl, run cold water through it from the tap. The continuous flow of cold water will cool off the beans fast and the colander will hold them in.
4. Once your beans have cooled, transfer them to a towel and pat them dry. Excess moisture in the means will allow them to collect frost making them mushy.
5. Once they have been semi dried, toss them into a freezer bag. Don't fill the bag too much. If you need to, use two. Crowding will cause them to stick together during freezing.
6. Freeze it! Make sure you lay the bag flat on it's side during freezing so you can spread out the beans a bit. This will help prevent excess sticking or ice build up from moisture leakage. Once frozen, shake the bag a big to unstick any bean clumps.
Apparently, green beans can last up to a year in the freezer, but I like to use mine up within 2 months or less. Never thaw your beans before adding to recipes or they will become watery. Remember, your beans are par cooked so they will cook faster in recipes than raw.
Add your beans to stews during the last 5 minutes of cooking. You can stir fry or roast your beans by tossing frozen beans with oil and cooking with high heat to brown them. You can also boil or steam them but keep watch that they don't over cook.
And remember, the freezer is your friend.