A quick and easy tutorial on how to blanch green beans. Blanched green beans are great for meal prepping, to extend the shelf life of your green beans, and for freezing seasonal garden harvests.
Blanched green beans can be used in any recipe that uses fresh or frozen green beans.
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The process of blanching beans is a quick boil and shock in an ice bath. Our step by step tutorial will teach you how to blanch green beans in just a few minutes.
Why you should blanch green beans:
- Brightens their color
- Preserves the crispness
- Fast and easy way to prepare green beans with simple seasonings
- A critical step if you want to preserve or freeze green beans
- Extends shelf life and ideal for meal prepping
- Beans can be reheated or serve cold
🧾 Preparing Green Beans
For this recipe you will need:
- 1 pound of green beans
- Kosher salt
For serving right away we recommend these optional seasonings:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Lemon- the zest and juice
- Kosher salt & black pepper
See the recipe card for quantities.
Buying Green Beans
You can blanch any variety of green beans, haricot vert, or string beans. Whether homegrown, from the grocery or your local farmer's market.
Regardless of the variety of beans, look for vivid color. Most are green but some varieties will be purple or yellow. They should have a snap when broken.
Avoid beans that are limp, slimy, or are covered in brown spots. A few blemishes are normal during the growing process but beware of heavily speckled soft green beans.
⏲️ How to Blanch Green Beans
Blanching green beans is a simple 3 step process. Let's get started!
Step 1- Prep and Trim
Thoroughly wash the green beans by submerging them in a bowl of cold water or rinsing them in a colander.
Trim the stems with a knife. Trimming the tail is optional but I prefer to trim it so both ends look the same.
Step 2- Boil
Use a large stockpot and add the kosher salt and fill it ¾ of the way full. Place over high heat and bring it to a rolling boil.
Add the green beans and continue to boil. The green beans will cook for two to three minutes. They are done when they turn bright green and are just slightly tender.
If you plan to serve right away without cooking further, you can cook for up to 4 minutes.
Step 3- Ice Bath
While the water is coming to a boil prepare your ice bath. Add 4 cups of ice to a mixing bowl and fill ¾ full with cold water.
Use tongs or a mesh sieve to move the beans from the boiling water to the ice bath. This is called "shocking" them and will immediately stop the cooking process.
Once the green beans are completely cold (15 to 20 seconds). You can drain them in a colander and then move them onto a clean dish towel to dry off.
Store beans in a tightly sealed container for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
🥗 Bests Green Bean Recipes
To serve blanched green beans immediately as a salad or cold side, drizzle with olive oil and toss with the zest and juice of one lemon. Salt and pepper to taste.
My go-to recipe is this sauteed garlic green bean recipe. Blanching the beans during my Sunday meal prep is perfect.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Allow the water to boil for several minutes before adding your green beans. This will prevent the water from cooling too much when you add the green beans.
🌡️ Freezing Blanched Green Beans
There are two ways to store frozen green beans. If you know you will use the whole bag at once simply place the drained and dried blanched beans in a freezer bag. Seal and store for up to 8 months.
If you plan on using them a few handfuls at a time I recommend pre-freezing on a baking sheet before adding to your freezer bag to prevent the green beans from sticking together.
Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread out the green beans in a single layer. Freeze for 1 hour before transferring to a freezer bag.
While you don't need any special equipment to blanch vegetables you will need the correct size pot and bowl. Your largest stockpot and largest mixing bowl should do the trick.
I prefer to use a mesh strainer to transfer the beans, but you can also drain in a colander and then plunge the beans into your ice bath.
💬Frequently Asked Questions
Blanching is the process of boiling green beans for 2 to 3 minutes before plunging them into an ice bath. This partially cooks the green beans while brightening their color and preserving the snappy crisp texture.
For meal prep, preserving, or freezing it is better to blanch green beans. Steaming is fine for a quick dinner preparation but blanching will yield a better texture and color.
Green beans should be boiled for 2 to 3 minutes and in the ice bath for 15 to 30 seconds before they are drained.
Heirloom varieties are great for home gardeners. We recommend Seed Savers Exchange for the best options.
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Blanched Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans trimmed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Add salt and 4 quarts of water to a large pot. Bring to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, add ice and water to a large mixing bowl.
- Drop the green beans into the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minute until they are tender but still crisp.
- Immediately remove the beans and plunge into the ice water long enough to cool completely, 15 to 30 seconds.
- Drain the green beans in a colander. Use in any recipe that calls for blanched green beans.
Optional Serving Suggestion
- To serve a green bean salad, toss the blanched green beans with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
- Store beans in a tightly sealed container for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Place the green beans in a freezer bag. Seal and store in the freezer for up to 8 months. Use as you would any store-bought frozen green bean.