Runner beans belong to the legume family that originated in South America. The pods are long and a pale green in color. Their skin is rough-textured, but this softens during cooking. They are more robust than French beans.
They are fat-free, low in calories, and high in fiber so are good for your health. They are high in protein, with 29% of the calories coming from protein. This helps to maintain muscle mass and healthy bones.
They contain Vitamin C and folate. Folate helps the immune system to function properly. In addition, they are delicious and easy to grow. Perhaps you decided to grow them and are now left with too many to eat within a few days.
So, what is the answer? Is there some way that you can preserve them for future use? The answer is simple, freeze them. It’s entirely possible and the results are good. In fact, you can freeze them for up to twelve months, but you must blanch them first otherwise they will lose their texture, flavor, and color.
The Way to Freeze Runner Beans
Yes, runner beans probably taste the best when they are fresh, but if you freeze them in the correct way, they will still be delicious. Here is a step-by-step guide to freezing runner beans for the best results.
- Clean the beans (see also ‘Can you Freeze Broad Beans?‘). If you have just picked your runner beans, it is highly likely that they will have some dirt and debris on them. Before you freeze them, you need to clean them. Put them in a colander and rinse them under tap water. Toss the runner beans by hand so that you clean each bean. You don’t want to freeze them with any dirt. When you have done this, drain the water out of the colander. You don’t want to freeze the beans with too much water. This can cause the vegetables to lose flavor. In addition, the water can cause the beans to fall apart.
- Trim the beans. The next step is to trim the beans at both ends. Line them up evenly on a chopping board and then trim off the ends. If you line them up equally, it shouldn’t take long at all.
- Chop the beans. It is easier to store the runner beans if they are shorter so chop them into smaller pieces. Also, because they are so long, you would probably chop them before preparing them so this will save you time when you are next preparing a meal with runner beans.
- Blanch the beans. The next step is to blanch the runner beans. The reason for doing this is to lock in color, flavor, and nutrients. Remember that you aren’t going to cook the beans but instead put them in boiling water for a maximum of three minutes.
- Cool the beans. It is important to cool the beans before you put them in the freezer. If you put warm or hot items into the freezer, it will bring the temperature up and some foods already in the freezer may start to defrost.
- Freeze the beans. Before you put the beans in the freezer, pat them dry to make sure that there isn’t any extra moisture. Then put them in either airtight bags or plastic containers, depending on how much room you have in the freezer. It can be a good idea to put them into portion size bags so that you only need to take out as many beans as you need each time.
Three Important Things To Remember When Freezing Runner Beans
- Prepare your beans before freezing. It is important to clean and trim your beans before freezing. This means that you won’t have to do any work when you take the beans out of the freezer.
- Blanch the beans. It is very important that you blanch your runner beans. It isn’t dangerous if you don’t blanch your runner beans before freezing them. However, blanching helps the beans to retain their nutrients and keep their vibrant color. It also stops the enzymes that would otherwise lead to spoilage. Freezing vegetables without blanching them first results in faded coloring as well as flavors being off.
- Shake the beans. If you don’t want your beans to stick together, shake them in a colander after 30 minutes. This will get rid of any excess water. Shake them when you put them in the bag as well. Alternatively, you can flash freeze your beans, but this is time-consuming.
How Long Can You Keep Runner Beans in the Freezer?
Runner beans can be kept in the freezer for up to 12 months which is great if you grow them and have plenty all at once. However, the earlier you use them the better they will taste so we recommend that you eat them within six months.
Defrosting Runner Beans
The main thing to remember is not to defrost your runner beans on your kitchen counter. This can cause them to spoil. There are two ways in which you can defrost runner beans.
- Put the runner beans in a colander and run them under cold water. They should be defrosted within five to ten minutes.
- You can defrost the runner beans in the microwave. Put them in a container that is safe for microwave use, add some water, put on a lid, and microwave for 45 seconds on defrost. Drain in a colander.
However, you actually don’t need to defrost runner beans before cooking. You can put them straight into a pan of hot water and cook them. They may take a little longer to cook than if they were defrosted, but you will find that they will keep their crunchiness better.
Refreezing Runner Beans
It is possible to refreeze runner beans, but you won’t need to blanch them again. However, if you keep refreezing them, they will start losing their color and flavor. It is much better to freeze your beans in meal-size bags so that you defrost just what you need. If you do refreeze them, you should use them up within a week.
Is it a Good Idea to Freeze Runner Beans?
Yes, it is if you have too many of them. They do freeze well because of their high water content. This means that they won’t spoil easily and can therefore remain in the freezer for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it Possible to Freeze Runner Beans Whole?
Yes, you can, but remember that they are long and you might want to serve them sliced. It saves time to cut them up before freezing. Then you just have to take them out of the freezer and use them.