String beans

Climbing, climbing, out of reach, need ladder...
Bearing so heavily that I can't keep up; just gave a bag full to neighbor.
Would like to save some for "winter".
Seems sacrilegious to freeze homegrown organic produce...but if I do, should I blanch first? Research on-line elicits strongly differing opinions, some purporting to be backed by science.
Anybody have practical experience to share?
TIA
HB
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Higgs Boson wrote:

Blanch them. The reason to do so is to stop enzyme activity which degrades the veges even when frozen. Take care to time them carefully and refresh in cold water otherwise you will cook them and reduce the freshness and soften the testure. There are tables of times for various veges available. I realise than on usenet/internet it is possible to get an argument about anything but I haven't heard anybody against blanching, what reason is given?
David
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We normally boil them for 5 - 6 minutes, then put them in ice water. They get sauted briefly in butter with shallots, and parsley, and they are ready to serve.
Seems freezing them after the ice water bath would be the most practical.
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Higgs Boson wrote:

I fill pint zip-locs with green beans cut into about 3/4" lengths (okra too) and freeze for fall soups/stews (really no reason to blanch if used within a few months), can even cook your veggies in stoups immediately and freeze, cooked veggies take much less freezer space and are always ready to eat... I make my soups condensed, takes far less space, just add some water to suit when heating (use minimal salt in foods to be frozen, obviously will freeze better - salt to taste upon serving). Freezing in rectangular containers takes much less freezer space than round. I make lots of soups/stews to freeze (I use a 16 qt soup pot), I haven't bought canned soup in more than 40 years. Everyone who vegetable gardens needs a second refrigerator freezer, mine is in my basement, a fridge/freezer won't work well or last long in a hot/cold garage... how else can one store a glut of fresh veggies until ready to use... a second fridge-freezer is far handier than a stand alone freezer. Also everyone who vegetable gardens needs to learn how to pickle. There are many recipes, I prefer fermented pickles (they go in my second fridge): http://foodpreservation.about.com/od/Fermenting/r/Lacto-fermented_Green_Beans.htm http://www.geappliances.com/search/fast/infobase/10000320.htm GEAppliances.com
Refrigerator - Installed Outdoors
Cold Temperatures: We do not recommend installing a refrigerator where temperatures will go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the unit is less efficient and will continue to lose efficiency as the outdoor temperature decreases. At 32 degrees, there is no cooling capability at all. Note: It is not recommended that refrigerators be used in unheated locations, such as garages, porches, or unheated rooms during periods when the temperature is likely to fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hot temperatures: We do not recommend installing a refrigerator where the temperature will exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Note: There is a possibility that operating the refrigerator in extremely high temperature could cause the oil to overheat and break down, thus damaging the compressor or sealed system.
There is a possibility that some harm could come to the compressor or sealed system by operating the refrigerator at temperature extremes. Below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the oil could become thick and not circulate properly. Above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the oil could overheat and break down. Refrigeration systems rely on the boiling of freon under pressure and heat. If the outside temperature is not sufficient, the freon will not boil to a vapor and no cooling will take place. Low temperatures can also fool the thermostat into thinking proper temperatures have been reached. This is true of the new CFC-free refrigerants as well.
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On Sunday, July 14, 2013 11:21:57 PM UTC-7, Higgs Boson wrote:

Interesting. The diversity of views to blanch or not to blanch pretty much reflects what I found on-line.
Guess I'll have to set up a proper experiment:
1. Harvest quantity of beans early a.m. or late afternoon.
2. Wash and cut into 1" or less pieces.
3. Pack several bags with unblanched.
4. Pack equal quantity with blanched.
5. Use different colored bags or labels for blanch/non-blanch
6. Place in freezer.
7. After X period -- say 4-months -- eat some out of each kind.
8. But how avoid pre-determination bias? Have to get a neighbor to nuke t hem, so I don't know which came out of blanch/non-blanch bags.
This should get me a Nobel prize.
Brooklyn that was a sensible tip about making space-saving condensed soups & adding (liquid) just before consumption.
Can't afford the second refrig/freezer, however; utilities are through the roof here. After [censored] years in the same community, I look back thro ugh a veil of tears at the price of electric, gas, water, trash in a by-gon e era. Thank goodness I don't need A/C, like I bet David Ross does on the o ther side of the mountain.
HB
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Since you've got so many beans, you might want to try making "leather britches": http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/preserving-beans-zmaz70ndzgoe.aspx#axzz2ZDsv6vNg
My mom's family would hang them in the attic (100-120oF or so) to dry, or if it was a dry summer, just place them on screens on the roof to dry.
If you like the version of green beans where you cook them with bacon or a ham shank till they're Really Dead, you'll probably like these. It is a different flavor and texture from fresh or frozen beans cooked until they're just done.
Kay
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On Tuesday, July 16, 2013 8:42:03 AM UTC-7, Kay Lancaster wrote:

Thanks, Kay - maybe I will give it a try.
But just for the record, I don't cook green beans -- or indeed any veg -- u ntil they're "Really Dead". I pick the beans, wash, cut into small pieces , nuke in the micro with a tbsp of water, then sauter quickly in (my late m other's) iron skillet where I have previously sauteed ground Tamari almonds in butter. A little salt & pepper and away we go.
Cook fast if cook at all <g> When my corn comes in -- any day now -- it's s o sweet that I've been known to just stand there and eat it off the cob, wi thout bothering to go to the kitchen.
HB
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On 7/15/2013 11:25 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

Food science researchers determined that blanching is necessary. The food processing companies (Green Giant, etc.) are convinced that it is necessary. They wouldn't expend the additional effort and cost of blanching if it wasn't obvious that it preserves the quality of the product.
What my family has always done is pack the raw cleaned vegetables into those heatproof vacuum-seal bags, seal the bags, then drop the bags into boiling water to blanch. They then go into ice water for the quick chill before going into the freezer. It's much less hassle bagging them before blanching. It might also preserve a bit more flavor, being that the juices aren't being washed away in the water/ice baths.
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On Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:00:26 AM UTC-7, Moe DeLoughan wrote:

Very interesting. Raises another question. If water is not contacting the veg -- which I assume is the ordinary definition of blanching?? -- why not pop the bags into the micro to "blanch"? (for what period of time, compar ed with water blanch?). Then into ice water, then freezer.
I strongly agree with you on preserving not only flavor, but also VITAMINS! When I nuke fresh veg with a tbsp of water, I always drink the water.
Tx
HB
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Higgs Boson wrote:

Because contact with water is not in itself relevant to the objective of blanching, blanching is done by immersing food in hot water because it is an easy way to heat it quickly and uniformly. Using a microwave is another method but it would not heat as evenly as immersion. Cooling in ice or ice water is the reverse process aiming to quickly cool the vegetable down to prevent it from cooking. The water is just heating or cooling the food in each case nothing else.
The aim is to raise the temperature briefly to deactivate the enzymes that can keep working and degrade the product if you don't. Before you dismiss the body of evidence that says blanching is beneficial you ought to at least understand the principle. You still haven't told why you don't want to do it or who said it was not necessary.
D
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On Tuesday, July 16, 2013 4:37:36 PM UTC-7, David Hare-Scott wrote:

1. I don't recall saying I don't want to do it.
2. I said that I went on-line (before posting to this NG) and observed disagreement as to efficacy of blanching; some yes, some no.
3. Rather than go back and paste in 'n' Web sites, I invite you to replicate my research.
4. If you look carefully, my last post precisely inquired into the principle.
QED.
HB

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On 7/16/2013 5:29 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

I used to blanch the snap beans in the microwave, but the process actually goes faster in boiling water. It takes more time for the microwave to heat the vegetable to the required temperature. Also, for denser packages - corn kernels, for instance - it usually doesn't heat evenly. So we moved to boiling water for everything.

That's the other advantage of this process. Frankly, I don't like watery vegetables, and I don't like bags full of ice crystals, which you can get if too much water sticks to the veggies when you bag them after the water dip. Plus, when you exhaust the air from the bag during the sealing process, you can smooth the bag evenly flat so they blanch evenly, then stack nicely and freeze fast in the freezer.
Anyhow, we've been doing it this way since the days of the Dazey Seal-A-Meal, if any of the old-timers remember that early precursor to the vacuum sealers now on the market.
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On Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:02:25 AM UTC-7, Moe DeLoughan wrote:

Hey, I used to have one of them puppies! When it died & went to veg heaven, I shopped for a replacement, but everything's gone hi-tech & expensive. Sometimes the Golden Oldies show up in thrift shops.
HB
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