July 16, 2009: Blanching and Freezing Vegetables

Since I had a bumper crop of green beans and summer squash this year, I put quite a bit in the freezer. Today I had nearly 2-1/2 pounds of the neighbor's Royal Burgundy bush beans to prepare. I like blanching the Royal Burgundy "magic" beans, as they are really self timing. When they turn a uniform bright green, they're ready!

A mixing bowl full of washed and snapped beans.

Put the beans in a blanching basket and lower into vigorously boiling water. Place a lid on the blancher, return the pot to boiling and blanch for 3 minutes.

The Royal Burgundy beans will turn a uniform bright green when blanched. This batch is almost ready. In the meantime, fill the sink or large container with cold water and add a lot of ice cubes.

Remove the beans from the boiling water and drain well.

Plunge the drained beans into the ice water to cool quickly and stop the cooking process.

Drain well.

I like to spread the drained beans onto a large pan that has been covered with a clean dish towel, and place them, uncovered, in the freezer.

When the beans are frozen solid, they can be bagged and returned to the freezer.

I was on a roll, so I decided to freeze the excess yellow crookneck squash. My youngest son had taken half of yesterday's squash harvest, but I found three more today. Two of the bunch were a bit large, so they went into the compost.

I ended up with two bags, weighing 1-1/4 pound each.

For complete instructions on blanching and freezing your vegetables, visit The National Center for Home Food Preservation

I picked my first "big" tomato today. It was a whopping 2 ounce Rutgers, that tasted just like a winter, store-bought "cardboard" tomato. I hope I get a tomato that tastes like a tomato soon.

Thursday's Garden Dinner

Rotini Mozzarella Casserole (onions, basil, garlic)
Fried Zucchini (local zucchini from farm stand)
Corn on the Cob (local corn from farm stand)
Tossed Garden Salad with Fat Free Italian Dressing (tomatoes, cucumbers)
Hot Garlic Bread (garlic)
Iced Raspberry Green Tea

Chilled Cantaloupe (local cantaloupe from farm stand)


  1. It looks like you have a batter on the fried zucchini - could you outline your recipe for that? I tend to stir fry them "naked" - but I think my husband would appreciate a little batter fried zucchini as a change up in the routine.

    My first tomato was rather bland this year too. Little disappointing when we have gone so long without them.

    I love your big/deep blanching pot. Where did you get that? (I need me one of those!)

  2. KitsapFG, it's not a batter. I slice the zucchini and dip the slices in beaten egg, then into fine saltine cracker crumbs. I pre-dip and coat all the slices and lay them out on a rack while I heat a combination of canola oil and butter to 350F in the electric fry pan (of course, you can use a regular frying pan, but I always manage to burn them!). Then I just fry them, turning once, until golden brown...extra salt and pepper for Mr. H, who likes them crisp and salty.

    I've had that blanching insert for years and years, and I used to have a bottom for it. I'll be darned if I know where it is, but it works OK to use my soup pot. How do you lose the bottom part of a pot but still have the insert and lid? It HAS to be somewhere in the garage ;-)

  3. Ah, the wandering kitchen implement.

    Your pot bottom is somewhere with my Kitchenaid dough hook, I bet. I finally gave up and ordered a new one. Sigh.

    Lovely, lovely beans.

  4. Well, I did a search for that pot and found the exact same one (with the bottom too) on Amazon.com. Not a bad price either - so I snagged myself one! Thanks for the info on the egg/saltine dredge for the zucchini. I think I will use that soon to mix up the summer squash menu a bit.

  5. Stefaneener and KitsapFG, I'm just going to have to do a good garage cleaning. My pot bottom HAS to be out there! You'll love your new one, KitsapFG. It makes a great pasta cooker, too.

  6. Sorry about your tomato. What a disappointment. If they keep coming in like that, you can always sell them to the grocery store-they ALWAYS have those kind!!
    Have a great weekend, Granny!

  7. Granny, I thought I had a ton of beans, but they never equaled your weights. I must have picked them too young.

  8. I betcha they taste good!

    Happy blogoversary!

  9. I get so excited about the first tomato, but they usually just don't taste as good as the ones that come later in the season. I weighed my first Sungold. It was one ounce on the nose, so yours must have been a very tiny full sized tomato. Most of my Sungolds aren't making it into the harvest count. I see them on the vine and just pop them into my mouth. The raspberries are sometimes getting the same treatment. They are right by the driveway on the drivers side. So I come in and open my door and pop a few in my mouth. Impatience is messing with my totals.

    Last year I didn't even blanch my zucchini. I just grated it and froze it (in zucchini bread premeasured amounts). I wonder if it would have been better to blanch for a short time. It might have messed up the recipe since it assumes raw squash.

  10. Sue, I think the grocery store tomatoes taste better :-( I have always found the first couple of tomatoes to be rather tasteless and mealy, but later ones being just fine.


    Ribbit, I try to pick mine quite young. The neighbor's probably should have been picked a day or two earlier, but there were really only a couple that I had to toss because they were tough. It depends a lot on variety, too. I've found my pole beans are better when they are larger, my bush beans when they are smaller. I like them to snap when I bend them, and not contain mature seeds.


    Teena in Toronto, thank you! I think you're the only one that noticed! They'll all know it now though, 'cause I just blogged it ;-)


    Daphne, I didn't bother to weigh my raspberries either, I ate most of them in the garden or just tossed them in with the strawberries.

    Oh, I would never blanch zucchini! I just grate it and bag it. In fact, I find the three minutes blanching time for the crookneck to be too much. Mine is cooked at three minutes, so in the future I'll just give it a quick dip in boiling water and cool it down immediately. I might even try a batch unblanched, as it gets soft so quickly with cooking.

  11. great tutorial on blanching! now i just need to grow enough veggies to have leftovers to blanch...

  12. Kelli, one of these days you'll have some to freeze or can. Believe me, your garden will only grow larger ;-)

  13. I love the magic beans! I think it'd be fun to plant some - do you remember which company you ordered them from? (or would you be up for a seed trade?)

  14. Jenn, I got them from Ed Hume Seeds. You know, I didn't save any seeds from them, but maybe I can save a few from those I gave Pat. If so, you sure are welcome to them. I think I'll just grow the pole varieties next year, and the purple ones do come in a pole variety. Those would sure be easy to spot while picking!

  15. Those beans look so nice! As does the yellow squash.

    I like the way that you freeze your beans and squash. For now, I've just been putting a meal's worth all into a ziploc and freezing together. But, your method is great because you can just remove the amount from the bag that you will be needing. Much better. I've used this method before with berries.

    Your meal looks delicious!

  16. Judy, I love to loose pack my fruits and veggies whenever possible, because I don't always need an entire package for just the two of us.

  17. Ah well... if it's too much bother I can look for them next year when planting. Still I hope I remember them - they're so cool.

  18. No bother at all, Jenn. I just have to remember to tell Pat to leave a few plants and not pick the beans from them. Maybe I can throw a piece of bird netting over them to remind her not to touch.

  19. I wouldn't want to deprive anyone of fresh garden beans! Myself included, so I guess I'm conflicted. LOL... you decide and I'll go with that. ::grin::

  20. Jenn, I'm sure she won't care. I got the two big bags of them in her freezer, and I picked again today, so I think that should be enough for her. I'll be planting another row or two of another variety, and she can have some of those if she wants.

  21. Thank you Granny! I've been told that freezing the beans really changes the flavor. Do you find that to be true? That's kind of why I decided to go with canning instead. But we'll see if that actually happens or not... I still haven't gotten my pressure gauge tested and I have 4 gallon sized bags in my fridge just waiting for me.

  22. Amy, we used to only like canned beans, but now we are so used to fresh or frozen I never buy canned. If you like the flavor of canned better, all you have to do is cook your frozen beans in the morning, or the day before you want to serve them, and put them (in their cooking liquid) in the fridge until you're ready to reheat them for your meal. They taste exactly like canned beans!

    I cook my fresh or frozen beans for about ten minutes. If I'm going to serve them right away, I do a squeak test...I take a bite of one and if it squeaks on my teeth, it's not cooked enough!

  23. I feel the same way as Mommy Amy, everytime I have frozen green beans, they are tough and not as yummy. I prefer a "fresh" tasting bean as opposed to canning them, but never quite turns out that way. I was given over a bushel of Yellow beans, some actually froze sitting on the top shelf of my fridge, I've already canned about 25 quarts, and probably have another 25 to do today, what would you suggest? Canning or Freezing?

  24. Jessica, I much prefer the frozen ones, but it wasn't always that way. I used to HATE frozen beans...they squeaked on my teeth! Now I find I don't like them if they aren't cooked long enough, or if they are cooked too long. It takes a bit of experimenting, but if you put the frozen beans in boiling salted water, bring them back to the boil (covered), then taste one at five minutes. If it tastes raw and tough, continue cooking and tasting. I like mine at around ten minutes.

    Another reason I like frozen, is that I can take as many or as few out of the bag as I want. If I want to make mixed vegetables I can grab a handful of each veggie, and not have to open an entire quart.

    The third reason is that I don't have a pressure canner ;-)