Harvest. Chop. Freeze. Repeat… I’ve been busy processing all our garden goodies! Our land has been very good to us this year. We’ve done a lot of harvesting, washing, chopping, blanching, and freezing. Zucchini and green beans have been our biggest harvests, but we’ve also got a good amount of spaghetti squash, a few carrots and peas, and lots of corn and pumpkins coming in! We’d like to do more canning in the future, but for now freezing is just easier. Ryan canned cherries and peaches this year. It’s awesome and yummy, but it takes aaaaallll day! And slimy peaches gross me out… Canned salmon does too. And grasshoppers.
Freezing can take a long time too depending on how much produce you are doing, and whether or not you choose to blanch everything. I did some research (I like this article) on freezing zucchini and green beans, and discovered that you don’t necessarily have to blanch. It just won’t keep for quite as long. It’s mostly a matter of texture preference. I usually use frozen zucchini and green beans in soups, so I’m fine with soft or mushy textures. I did experiment with both options though to see if we like one better than the other. The bags are marked with “blanched” or “not blanched” so I know which is which.
Freezing Zucchini and Green Beans
The process for freezing zucchini and green beans is actually pretty simple. There are 5 basic steps:
- Harvest. Pick all your yummy green beans/zucchini. I always get an itchy rash from the green bean leaves when I harvest them. I thought maybe I was allergic to them, but apparently contact dermatitis from gardening is pretty common. So you might want to wear long sleeves!
- Wash. Zucchini is pretty easy to wash, so I won’t explain it. For the green beans, I usually put them in a strainer and run the water over them while I gently swish them around with my hands.
- Chop/cut/snap. For zucchini, I just cut it into whatever size pieces I like. For the green beans, I use kitchen sheers to cut off the ends, then cut them in half.
- Blanch (or don’t blanch). If you choose to blanch, you simply boil some water and boil the green beans or zucchini for 2-3 minutes. After that, I put them in a strainer and run cold water over them to cool them off.
- Freeze. Some people say to pre-freeze them on a cookie sheet before putting them in a freezer bag, but I didn’t. I just laid them out on a cookie sheet with a paper towel to dry them a bit, then threw them into the freezer bag. They do freeze in a big clump, but all you have to do is throw the bag onto the garage or kitchen floor and that breaks them right up. It’s a great method of stress relief too 🤣
That’s all there is to it!
So far we’ve eaten un-blanched green beans, carrots, and zucchini and no one has gotten sick, so that’s a good sign! The green beans were definitely softer, but I also steamed them in my microwave so that may be why. As far as taste goes, everything was still yummy!
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*UPDATE: If you aren’t going to use your green beans within a couple of months, they definitely taste better blanched!