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Gardening Articles: Health :: Cooking

Preserving Beans (page 2 of 2)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Best Containers

There are quite a few different kinds of freezer containers. Plastic bags and paper or plastic boxes are the most popular for beans. If you use paper boxes, use plastic bags as liners. The boxes act as molds, shaping the plastic bags and their contents for convenient stacking. When the vegetables are frozen, remove and reuse the outer boxes. With plastic boxes, simply pack them and put them in the freezer. Plastic boxes are more expensive, but they can be reused many times.

Seal the packages and label them with their contents and the date. To freeze quickly, place the containers separately in a single layer an inch apart in the coldest part of the freezer. After 24 hours, they'll be completely frozen and may be stacked together.

Keep an up-to-date inventory of what you have in your freezer and plan to use the beans within one year. The flavor isn't as good after that, and by that time, fresh beans will be in season again, anyway!

Storing Lima Beans

Harvest the limas when they're green and plump with beans. Shell the beans and sort them according to size. To shell lima beans, hold a pod in both hands, placing your thumbs on the outer seam. Simultaneously, squeeze and twist the pod, pushing down on the seam. The pod will pop open. Rinse the beans and blanch them: small beans for one minute; medium ones for two minutes; large ones for three minutes. Then follow the freezing process for snap beans.

Storing Soybeans

For freezing, harvest soybeans when they're young and green. Trim off the blossom ends, blanch the beans in their shells for five minutes, then cool them quickly in ice water. When cool, squeeze the beans out of the pods. Rinse, drain, package and freeze the beans.

Photography by National Gardening ASsociation

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