So, when to harvest spaghetti squash? The best time is early to mid-fall. In the northern…
So, how to store fresh green beans? In a world where self sufficiency has become the norm, storing home grown food such as vegetables has become popular.
It’s one thing to start a home garden. It’s another to know when to harvest and how to store your produce.
Are green beans easy to store? Will they last? Will they be susceptible to deterioration and attack by pests in storage? Fair questions which we’ll answer with one word. Yes.
Fresh green beans can lose their freshness quickly. If you have a large quantity which you know you will need to consume over time, the best thing you can do is separate amounts of them in bags, and refrigerate them.
Actually, you’ll want to refrigerate the beans you’ll consume over the next week and freeze the remainder. Be careful not to freeze them for too long. I’ve found when stored correctly in bags or containers, they will retain their freshness for at least three months.
That’s my experience anyway and as someone who grew up on a farm and had my own vegetable garden at the age of six with the help of my parents, this is what has worked well for me.
How To Store Fresh Green Beans?
So let’s look at some information on how to store fresh green beans. By the way, if you are needing to store your beans for consumption at a later date, then congratulations.
You’re gardening skills are producing food from home and that’s a big plus in today’s world. Let’s look at how to store your fresh beans with some pros and cons in doing so.
As I said, if you plan to use your beans within a short time frame, it is best to refrigerate them. However, if you are planning on using them over several weeks or months, then there are some simple steps that you should take to ensure maximum shelf life.
1) How Long Do I Keep My Fresh Green Beans Stored?
Green beans don’t usually spoil very easily but they do dry out quite rapidly once cut. So make sure you get them into water immediately after cutting.
They also like cool temperatures. You could leave them hanging from the ceiling fan overnight but this isn’t recommended because they’ll probably fall off. Just kidding! The ideal temperature range for keeping green beans is between 10-25°C (50-77 F).
But as I said earlier, you can freeze them for a limited length of time. They just need to be in airtight containers to avoid freezer burn.
2) What About Pest Control? Do You Need It?
Pests love green beans! So unless you’re growing beans indoors, you may want to consider buying an organic pesticide spray before harvesting.
This way you won’t have any problems later. But only if you are an experienced gardener and know something about pesticides, how to use them and their effects on people, animals and the environment.
Pesticides work well against most insects including aphids, whiteflies, thrips, mites, beetles, caterpillars and more. Some sprays contain fungicidal properties too.
Be careful what type of pesticide you apply to your plants. Most commercial growers use Neem oil, pyrethrum or rotenone.
These chemicals aren’t usually harmful to humans but they kill many types of bugs and fungi.
Rotenone is particularly effective at killing soft bodied fruit flies. Neem oil works well against both soft bodied and hard bodied fruit fly larvae.
Pyrethrins are used widely around the world as insect repellents and are considered safe for human consumption. Unfortunately, they can be toxic to cats and dogs.
Make sure you read the label carefully though – not all pesticide products are suitable for organic gardening.
*** Finally, here’s my caveat. If you don’t feel comfortable using organic pesticides then don’t use them.
While washing prior to use is good, know that washing doesn’t remove all of the pesticide used. Why is this?
Because vegetables and fruit have what we know as pores and any foreign liquid can get trapped or absorbed within these pores. Trying to wash them off or getting rid of the pesticide on vegetables completely is impossible.
So, in answer to the question, do you need pest control then no. If you don’t want to use any type of pesticide, then I recommend you don’t.
3) How To Store Fresh Green Beans? Do I Still Wash Them First?
Again, make sure you wash your produce thoroughly.
Washing removes soil particles and other debris which might otherwise cause mold growth. But washing doesn’t remove all pesticides.
One more time, only use pesticide if you feel comfortable using them. For more on how to minimize pesticide residue in food click here.
4) Can I Refrigerate Fresh Green Beans?
Okay, there will be some who say no but I say yes. However, refrigeration shouldn’t be for any longer than a week.
Refrigeration can cause moisture loss through evaporation. Moisture levels must remain above 4-5% for good quality green beans.
As soon as you put them in cold conditions, the bean cells begin to shrink and the cell walls contract.
When this happens, nutrients inside the plant move towards the centre of the bean causing it to shrivel.
Once the beans reach maturity, they stop producing sugars and starch. At this point, they could no longer taste sweet.
Once again, refrigerate for a limited time. No more than a week.
5) How To Store Fresh Green Beans? Should I Blanch My Green Beans First?
This is up to you but blanching helps prevent discoloration caused by oxidation.
Oxidation occurs when oxygen reacts chemically with certain compounds found in foods.
For example, iron oxidizes to form rust. During cooking, heat breaks down proteins and fats in our bodies. Bottomline, blanching will help preserve the freshness of the beans longer, whether you freeze or refrigerate them.
By reducing the amount of surface area exposed to air, blanched fruits retain their natural colors and flavors better.
6) Are Frozen Green Beans Still Edible?
Frozen green beans are perfectly fine to eat. Just thaw them completely before serving.
If the beans appear to have frost bite all over them then recommendation is to pass them up and throw them away.
Seal-tight containers or bags from a company like Glad should do the trick in keeping the frost off them.
7) Is Freezing Green Beans Really Necessary?
No, but if you have a lot of produce ready to be harvested and need to consume them over time, then freezing is recommended.
Frozen green beans are perfect for making soups and stews. Simply defrost them thoroughly before adding to recipes.
Freezing does reduce the nutritional value slightly but it’s unlikely to affect the overall health benefits.
8) Does Freezing Damage The Texture?
Not necessarily. A study conducted by researchers at Cornell University showed that freezing did not significantly alter the texture of green beans. Source.
9) Can I Cook Frozen Green Beans?
Cooked frozen green beans are just as delicious as freshly cooked ones. It’s a good idea to let them thaw slightly before cooking.
10) How Long Will Frozen Green Beans Last?
The best way to determine if frozen green beans are going bad is to smell them. They should smell a little like peas.
The more time that passes between picking and freezing, the less likely they are to spoil.
Frozen green beans keep very well. You’ll notice some wilting after about 3 months. That’s normal. Don’t worry!