Freezing fresh green beans is a quick and easy way to preserve them for later use. We'll walk you through how to freeze green beans, step by step, with or without blanching.
Whether you're freezing pole beans, bush beans, yellow beans or other snap beans, the method is the same. You need about 1-1/2- to 2-1/2 pounds of green beans per quart of frozen beans.
When I'm freezing green beans, I prefer to blanch them, but many people don't bother to save time. It's up to you. I do recommend washing your beans before freezing.
Even if you garden organically, contaminants drift in on the wind. After washing or blanching, make sure to dry your beans well. Excess water means more ice crystals in your beans. I spread my beans on a kitchen towel and pat dry, or use the salad spinner.
Blanching green beans for freezing reduces enzyme action and helps to preserve vitamins in the beans. In the book Stocking Up III, the author notes a University of Illinois study that found:
“After nine months, the blanched beans had 1,300 percent more vitamin C than the unblanched ones.”
I flash freeze and vacuum seal my green beans for ease of use and best storage quality.
If you flash freeze your beans (freeze them loose on a pan before packing them in a bag or container), they don't stick together so much in the bag. This makes it easier to pour out only what you need. Even though I generally use a whole package at once, it's nice to pour out loose beans instead of a “bean brick”.
Picking Green Beans
During the growing season, pick green beans every two to three days to keep them producing. Look for beans that are full sized but not overgrown. Runty green beans get limp, and overgrown green beans are stringy and tough.
How big is too big for freezing? When we have beans that we suspect are overripe, we snap them by hand instead of cutting. If they snap cleanly and easily with no strings, they're good.
You can still eat the overgrown, stringy beans, but they are chewy. Ours go to the compost. (If you're growing a variety of beans that has strings no matter what size they are, remove strings before cutting into pieces.)
My sons prefer to cut the ends and beans with a knife on a cutting board. I prefer to snap the beans by hand. Either works just fine. For freezing green beans, you can leave the beans whole with the stem cut off, or cut/snap into bite size pieces.
See “How to Grow Lots of Pole Beans for Easy Picking and Preserving” for green bean growing tips.
Recommended Tools for Freezing Green Beans:
Vacuum sealer shown in the post – FoodSaver FM2000 – I've had some issues using the hose attachment for this unit, but for basic bag sealing it works just fine. It has a wide sealing surface and still seals even with damp foods. It's a good basic unit for bag sealing.
FoodSaver 8″ roll, BPA free, cut to size – I've tried “bargain” brands of vacuum sealer bags and was not impressed – too many seal failures. I'll stick with FoodSaver bags/rolls. The rolls let you cut to size, the bags are ready to go right out of the box.
FoodSaver Quart Bags, BPA free – Ready made bags for ease of use.
Freezing Green Beans Without Blanching (Freezing Green Beans Raw)
- Wash green beans in cool water. Drain well.
- Trim off ends of beans, snap or cut to desired length.
- Date and label freezer bags. (It's easier to write on the bags before filling, if you know how many you will use.)
- Pack green beans into freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible.
- Lay bags flat in a single layer for quick freezing.
- Once frozen solid, you can back the bags into a bin or larger bag to keep your freezer organized.
- Use within a year for best quality.
Freezing Green Beans With Blanching
- Wash green beans in cool water.
- Trim ends and cut to desired length.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and fill a large basin or bowl with ice water.
- Working in small batches, lower beans into boiling water using a large slotted scoop or wire blanching basket.
- Boil green beans for three minutes. The color of the beans will change to bright green. (Purple beans turn green when blanched.)
- Remove beans from boiling water and dump them into the ice water to stop cooking.
- Cool beans completely. Stir and add more ice if needed.
- Drain beans and dry well. I either run mine through our salad spinner or pat dry on a kitchen towel.
- Pack beans in freezer bags as above, or flash freeze green beans on a lined cookie sheet for a few hours or overnight. Pack flash frozen green beans into labeled vacuum sealer bags. Vacuum seal and store in freezer for up to two years.
Can You Freeze Cooked Green Beans?
Yes! Another option for freezing green beans is to cook them the same way you would normally serve them, and then cool, and freeze. You can flash freeze them and then pack them up, or put them straight into a freezer safe container. This also works well for home freeze drying. (Green beans are delicious freeze dried.)
Do you blanch your beans before freezing, or skip this step? I've always been a blancher, but I have friends who don't blanch.
More Preserving Recipes
Did you know we have an extensive list of canning and preserving recipes and guides? You can see the entire list on the Recipes and Kitchen Tips page. We always follow safe food preserving guidelines. Sometimes it's fine to take shortcuts, sometimes it's not.
More info on green beans and vacuum sealers:
- How to Can Green Beans
- Pickled Dilly Beans with Garlic and Cayenne Pepper
- Vacuum Sealers – What You Need to Know Before You Buy
Originally posted in 2017, updated in 2018.