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July 2011
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Freezing beans and a new invention

It is a very hot and humid week, so it seems appropriate to freeze some produce today.

This morning, under a hazy sky, before the sun started shining full blast, I went out to the garden to pick beans.

I got distracted by weeds. I know that I told you I have a no-weed garden and, truly, there is very little in the way of weeds, but there is the occasional grass that creeps in. I went along the row of beans, picking beans and pulling weeds.

Then I contemplated my potato rows with all those volunteer tomatoes in between and I decided to pull out the tomatoes. I kept a few plants to see what sort of weird variety I was going to get, but all the rest went into the compost pile.

 

This afternoon, I worked on the beans.

I’ve frozen beans before, so I knew the process: trim ends, and cut into pieces, blanche for 3 minutes, dump into ice water, dry, put into freezer bags. What was new this year was my blanching equipment. Previously, I just dumped the beans into boiling water, boiled for the allocated time, and then scooped up the beans with a strainer, strewing water all over the floor as I carried the strainer from stove to sink. It was almost like a game: how many beans can I scoop up with one sweep of the strainer? Meanwhile, the poor beans left behind got more and more cooked. I’ve heard that there are these things called blanching baskets, but I do not want yet another piece of equipment.

So I devised my own blanching basket. A colander, some jute, a rope, and, voila, a blanching basket!

I’m happy to say that it worked very well. I froze 5 quarts of beans. There are still flowers on the plants – so I’m sure more beans will be arriving soon. Meanwhile, I saved my pieces of jute and my rope and I will be ready for the next batch.

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