Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Magical Fruit

This year is not only a bumper crop year for huckleberries, but my 8 bean plants appear to be on some kind of manic growing spree that is providing me with about 86 bazillion yellow wax beans. I am already sick of the sight of them. Yesterday alone I picked 1.25kg of the suckers, which is about 2.75lbs. It was the third picking - and there are so many more on the way.

The whole point of this garden is to help feed myself without depending on the grocery store, so obviously I had to do something to preserve my bean crop since becoming bored with them & letting them just rot on their stems would be counter-productive. So, I blanched & froze.

Bear in mind that I have no idea what I'm doing, OK?

Blanching involved boiling for a short period of time and then immediately plunging the veggie into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. The goal is to break down the cell walls of the veggie so that when the veggie is frozen, the water in the cells doesn't crystallize and expand, then rupture the cell walls, which is what causes a veggie to go mushy upon thawing.

So, here is what I did.

I washed the beans well & trimmed them. I then brought a large pot of water to a rolling boil and threw in a bunch of beans.After 2 - 3 minutes, I lifted the beans out & plunged them in an ice bath. (Yes, that is an ice pack; we have no cubes!)
Once the beans were completely cool... ...I packaged them up in small freezer bags, making sure to squeeze out as much air as possible, then I put the bags of beans in a larger freezer bag (double bagging like this helps prevent freezer burn). And into the freezer they went.
I suspect I'll be doing this a lot in the next few weeks...

15 comments:

Coleen's Recipes said...

I am so envious. You will be thrilled with your bumper crop about mid-winter. Have you thought of pickling some?

Denise said...

The beans grew so beautifully. I cant wait to see what you do with them in the middle of winter.

Donna-FFW said...

So jealous, I am totally missing my garden this year with the move, I can not wait to do it again next year. I have the spot picked out already. Your beans look PERFECT!!Whatcha gonna make with them?

Captain Karen said...

I'm with Coleen...there's always pickling or canning. Mmmm, "fresh" beans in the middle of winter? Oh that would be fabulous. Congrats on the success of the beans (the cats ate all three of my plants this year).

girlichef said...

Gorgeous!! Harvest time is such a happy time to me....anticipation :D Is that a popcorn popper your beans are in (looks just like mine)!!??

Alyse said...

Wow they look wonderful, but I am not a huge fan of beans of any sort.

Elra said...

Such a great idea!

Natashya said...

I am so jealous! I got about a dozen beans from my 4 plants and now they seem to have retired for the season.
The last two summers have not been great for growing here.
Good thinking to preserve them.

Palidor said...

That's a great idea. I'm sure you'll love those beans when winter arrives.

Wandering Coyote said...

Coleen: Ah, pickling! No, I hadn't thought of that! I have a ton of dill, too...

Denise: thanks!

Donna-FFW: I have no idea what I'm going to do with all these...I'm going to have to get really creative.

Karen: bad kittehs!!

Girlichef: ahhhh...yes, that is my microwave popcorn popper! I needed a large receptacle for the blanched beans as all my big bowls were being used.

Alyse: they're not everyone's bag, that's for sure.

Elra: Thanks!

Natashya: you guys have had a terrible summer for sure. I'm not surprised your bean crop has suffered.

Wandering Coyote said...

Palidor: thanks! Yeah, I won't be buying too many veggies this winter, I suspect!

Bob said...

I've never had those kinds of beans before. Heh, you could send me some and I'll try them! :D

Pierce said...

Good for you, growing your own produce. Damn deer....I'll never have a garden.
I've never eaten a wax bean. Honestly, let us know what you make wth these!

Reeni♥ said...

I'm jealous that you have room in your freezer for this! Last year I was inundated with string beans - so many went to waste. I didn't plant them this year. No room in the freezer. I'm bummed! You'll be enjoying your bounty in the months to come!

monicajane said...

good job and beautiful beans...you know our beans got eaten this year...so we generally have tons of beans and got none this year (though as you know the basil did well)

I've been lazy and in previous years simply frozen the beans without blanching...they don't actually get all that mushy but they definitely don't have a fresh sort of consistency either...i was planning on blanching for the first time this year.

enjoy your beans.

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