If you were turned off by canned green beans as a kid, let me assure you: Fresh green beans are nothing like those greying soggy beans floating in murky water. When cooked properly (aka not boiled to death), green beans are a vibrant vegetable that can perk up pasta, get sprinkled into a salad, or stand alone as a side dish. Here’s the best way to blanch green beans so they’re actually appealing.
To blanch green beans, fill a large pot of water, set over high heat, and bring it to a boil. Salt the water (per quart of water, estimate a tablespoon of kosher salt), which will bring the green beans to life and enhance their flavor. Once the water is boiling, add the beans and cook for two to three minutes. While the beans are cooking, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. As soon as the beans are done cooking, transfer them immediately to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and preserve their bright green color. Leave the beans in the bowl of ice water for a few minutes before removing them with tongs. From here, toss them with butter and lemon zest, put them toward pasta, or use them as the base for everyone’s favorite (OK, maybe not everyone’s) Thanksgiving side dish: green bean casserole.
You can also freeze blanched green beans for future use. Once they’re entirely cool, transfer them on top of a few layers of paper towels or a clean dish towel and pat them dry to remove any excess moisture. Once dry, place them on a lined sheet tray or plate them and stick it in the freezer; lay them down in a single layer to avoid the beans sticking together. Once frozen, transfer the beans to a container or airtight freezer bag for permanent storage Frozen vegetables like green beans are best eaten within three to six months. While they’re not unsafe to eat after that period, their quality will start to deteriorate.