Monday, November 2, 2009

Freezing Peas & Green Beans

We recently took a family trip to visit family & friends in Texas, and came home to a garden full of goodies. Our sugar snap peas did not fail us and had a large crop ready for picking, and our green beans had also given us enough for one meal. I picked them right up, but didn't know exactly when we'd be able to eat them. Rather than risk the beans & peas spoiling in the fridge, I decided to freeze them and save them for a future date. Now since I started freezing some of our vegetable harvest, I haven't taken the time to blanche them before freezing. But I've heard a lot of good things about blanching--how it locks in the color and preserves the important nutrients found in vegetables. So I decided to try my hand at blanching before freezing this most recent harvest.

How to Blanche & Freeze Sugar Snap Peas & Green Beans
First, rinse your vegetables under cold water to remove any dirt, bugs, whatever. Then take your sugar snap peas and chop off the stems.
After chopping ff the stems, place the sugar snap peas in rapidly boiling water. Let boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute until they turn bright green and start to tender up. Do not boil for longer than 1 minute.
Drain the sugar snap peas then immediately place in a bowl full of ice water. This will stop the cooking process and cool them down quickly.
Then drain the ice water from the peas.
Take your green beans and chop off the ends, then cut into your desired sizes.
Just like the sugar snap peas, place the green beans into rapidly boiling water. Let boil 30 seconds to 1 minute or until they turn bright green and just start to tender up.
Drain the boiling water from the beans, and place them into a bowl of icy water.
Lay your sugar snap peas and green beans on paper towels to dry them off. I even placed more paper towel on top to help absorb the water.
Place your peas & beans into quart-size freezer bags, squeeze out the air, seal, lay flat & freeze. Now you have bright-green veggies with all the nutrients & flavor locked in ready for you when you are ready to prepare & eat them!
One of the nice things about sugar snap peas is that, unlike English peas, you can eat the pod, no need to shuck these peas! The more time you give them to grow on the vine, the sweeter they get. I could have picked some of these before we went on our trip, but I decided to give them more time on the vine. They had definitely plumped up by the time we got home. I can't wait to try them out!

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