Late in the season, there is often a mad dash to can or freeze the last of the summer crops for the winter, but there is no better time to preserve the harvest than when the garden is going full tilt. Green beans are acceptable candidates for canning, but the texture of canned beans tends to be a little rubbery. Freezing, on the other hand, retains most of the flavor and texture of fresh beans. While it’s not quite as simple as tossing a bag of beans into the freezer, it’s close (and well worth the effort when it comes time to make that green bean casserole for Thanksgiving).
Blanching is the practice of partially cooking produce by immersing fruits or vegetables in boiling water for a brief period. It can be done to soften produce, mellow strong flavors or to loosen the outer skin for easy removal (commonly used for tomatoes or peaches). For our purposes, it also has the effect of destroying enzymes that cause vegetables to degrade over time. If frozen produce will not be stored for long periods, this step may not be necessary, but it is a fail safe well worth the minimal effort required.