Runner Beans are a delicious, nutritious vegetable that is really in its prime during summer. Often confused for a type of green bean, runner beans are actually a completely different plant, which means they have their own unique ways of being prepared, cooked, and stored.
Runner beans are incredibly versatile. In order to get the most out of this vegetable, however, you need to know how to store it effectively and, is freezing one of the options?
To freeze runner beans, you should blanch them for a few minutes initially. You can then freeze them on a baking tray before storing the frozen beans in good-quality freezer bags.
How to Freeze Runner Beans
As with most vegetables, runner beans need to be blanched before freezing to help retain their fresh flavour and colour.
This will ensure that any frozen vegetables you use in your cooking will not taste bland and you will still get the same nutritional punch you would get if they were fresh.
Our full method for freezing runner beans successful is as follows:
- Top and Tail
Chop off the ends of the runner beans, removing any stalk or stringy part. You could also cut the runner beans into slices or strips. Simply consider how you would normally prepare runner beans for dinner.
Chop the runner beans into smaller pieces, approximately 2-3cms in length. Alternatively, you can also slice them lengthways.
- Heat Water
Grab a saucepan and fill it with enough water for the beans to be submerged in. Get this to a rolling boil.
Add the runner beans to the water and boil for 3 minutes before draining. Do not boil them any longer than this or you risk overcooking them.
- Ice bath
Once drained, add the runner beans to a bowl of ice water. This will prevent any residual heat from cooking the beans further.
- Open Freeze
Grab a baking tray and line with greaseproof paper. Spread the beans out, ensuring they are not touching each other. Slide the tray into the freezer and leave for a few hours until the beans are frozen solid.
- Bag Up
Remove the beans and pour them into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
- Label and Freeze
Label your bags or containers and then place them back into the freezer for storage. They should last for around 6 months in the freezer providing that they are kept airtight.
Defrosting runner beans is really simple. In most cases, you can just add them into any dish from frozen and as you cook the dish, the beans will defrost. If you are going to eat them raw, just allow them to thaw in the fridge, preferably overnight.
Yes, it’s possible to defrost runner beans in the microwave. Be careful, however, as you don’t want to overcook them. Place them into a dish with a splash of water and microwave for 30 seconds or so.
How to Freeze Runner Beans Successfully
The method above is fairly foolproof. But if you want to ensure you have complete success when freezing runner beans, make sure you stick to these 3 tips:
- Ensure a Thorough Initial Freeze – The reason for a first freeze is to stop the beans from clumping together when placed in a bag, so ensure that the beans are thoroughly frozen first before pouring them into the bag. They should be completely frozen before they are stored in a bag.
- Plan Their Use – Try to have an idea of what you are going to use your beans for so that you know whether to chop them into smaller pieces or keep them whole. This will help save time with any prep when it comes to cooking.
- Always Blanch – It is a bit more of a process, but blanching will ensure that the runner beans lock in their flavour and nutrients. Blanching really is hugely beneficial when freezing most vegetables.
- Combine With Other Vegetables – If you often cook runner greens with other, similar vegetables such as peas, broad beans or mangetout then freeze them all together in mixed veg bags that are ready to go, midweek.
Do Runner Beans Freeze Well?
Yes, runner beans are a great vegetable to keep in the freezer! They freeze well due to their high water content and this also ensures that it is highly unlikely that they will spoil before you need to use them.
If you store the beans correctly, you could keep them in the freezer for up to a year, possibly longer. It’s vital, however, that they are kept in good-quality, airtight freezer bags. If the air can get in then your runner beans could become freezer burnt.
Freezing Runner Beans FAQs
If you have any further questions on how to freeze runner beans then these quick FAQs might help you out. If not, feel free to drop a comment at the bottom of the article:
Yes, it’s possible to freeze runner beans without blanching but it’s not recommended. You will lose texture, flavour and nutrients if you fail to blanch them beforehand. It might take an extra 5 minutes, but it’s well worth the effort. This is why you should blanch runner beans before freezing them.
Cooked runner beans can be frozen although it is better to freeze lightly blanched beans instead. This is because you can easily overcook previously cooked runner beans when thawing and reheating them.
Yes, you can freeze any variety of runner beans. Runner beans in the supermarket will be a generic green variety. But if you’re lucky enough to have grown your own then these and have picked more obscure varieties then these too can be frozen.
Runner beans can be frozen whole, sliced, chopped or in any other form you can think of. The best approach to take is to freeze them in the form you would normally eat them in.