Freezing Fresh Legumes (Green beans, pod peas, shelled peas, etc.)

Green Beans

Green Beans

By Cat, Aug 2008; updated 2010, 2011 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Fava Beans (Shelling blanching, cooking)

The basic process is the same for all of these green legumes; the only difference is the blanching and ice-shock time. I get better results with steaming as opposed to blanching in hot water, but I include instructions for both methods.

Freezing Fresh Beans, Peas

1. Trim and wash beans and edible pod peas. Remove peas from shell pea pods and rinse. Beans longer than 2 inches can be cut into 1″ segments; beans can also be Frenched by cutting in half lengthwise.

2. Blanch:

    • In hot water: Heat a large pot ⅔ full of water and bring to a boil. Add beans, or peas, and cover with lid.
    • Over steaming water (helps to retain water-soluble vitamins): place 2 – 3 inches water in bottom of steamer and bring to full boil. Add veggies to steamer basket in a single layer at a time, then cover with lid.
    • Both methods: Begin timing right away (as soon as veggies are added to hot water, or lid is placed on top of steamer)

Timing for blanching:

    • Green beans: blanch 2-3 minutes (boiling water); 3-4 minutes (steam)
    • Shelled peas: blanch 1.5 minutes or 90 seconds (boiling water or steam);
    • Sugar Snap peas: blanch 2 minutes (boiling water); 2.5 minutes (steam)
    • Snow peas: blanch 2 minutes (boiling water); 2.5 minutes (steam).

3. Immediately remove veggies from hot water or steam basket, and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Leave in ice bath same amount of time as they were blanched, adding more ice as it melts, to maintain the freezing temperature. About 1 lb ice per pound veggies.

4. If desired transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer, then place in freezer to dry out the  veggies before transferring to freezer-proof containers. Jean H. recommends this. In 2010 I didn’t do this and my pods were quite soft after thawing, so I’m tred this step in 2011, and it does make a difference.

5. Transfer to freezer-proof container. This includes glass jars with lids, plastic freezer boxes with snap-on lids, plastic freezer bags, or plastic vacuum-seal bags. I use wax-paper sandwich bags to hold individual servings, then place these in plastic freezer bags; this keeps the food away from the plastic. Label container with contents and date.

6. Place containers in freezer. Do not crowd items in the freezer, so air can freely circulate.


  1. Pick Your Own, Freezing Beans: and Freezing Peas:
  2. Farmers Almanac, Freezing Show Peas and Sugar Snap Peas


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