Friday, June 25, 2010

Swimming in Green Beans and Eggs

The title of this post says it all.  Green beans are pouring in from the garden and eggs are pouring in from the hen house- so fast I can barely keep up with either of them.

We've been eating green beans for supper every night (on the side) and the rest are chilling out in the freezer.  The eggs are filling up our fridge, laughing at me every time I open the door, saying, "Ha!  And you thought you'd found enough people to buy us."  For the first time, I am attempting to freeze eggs.  I've been told it can be done and that not only can they be thawed and used for baking, but also for omelets, scrambled, fried, you name it.  I'm using my trusty ice cube trays and will pop them out and into bags once they're frozen.



Last winter our hens slowed down to the point that we actually had to buy a couple dozen eggs.  That seems ludicrous to me in light of our surplus.  The frozen eggs will be saved in case we have another sparse winter egg-laying-wise.  Tell me.  Have you tried this?  Please tell me it worked splendidly.  Okay.  You can tell me if it didn't, too.


Freezing Green Beans

Rinse your beans well.  Snap (with your finger) or trim off (with a knife) the end of the bean that was attached to the plant.  It's your choice if you want to leave the little tail on at the other end or not.  We leave ours on.  Now you have another choice.  You can leave your beans whole, or you can cut them or french them.

I remember helping my mom use a green bean frencher/slicer.  It was a little contraption that attached to your counter top.  You fed the green beans through (a few at a time) while turning a crank.  The frencher cut your beans long-ways, so you had bean strands coming out the other end.

We cut our beans.  They're just easier to eat this way and also easier to pack into bags.  Leaving them whole looks elegant, but with little kids, the less cutting of food you have to do at the dinner table, the better.


Once you have your beans trimmed and how you want them, set a large pot of water to boil on your stove.  There should be enough water to completely cover the beans.  Bring it to a full boil, then add your beans.  Blanch them (leave them in the boiling water) for 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon or sieve (if you don't have a pot colander) remove the beans and place them directly into a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes.  You can save your hot water and re-use it several times before getting fresh.  The rule of thumb is to leave the green beans in the cold water for as long as they were in the hot.  When they've cooled down, drain them well and transfer them to freezer bags.  We like quart size.

The next step is crucial.  Take your sweaty self outside and sit down in your children's kiddie pool.  The neighbors might wonder about you, but you know what?  They probably already do.

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20 comments:

  1. i know i've said this before, but i love your blog, and your updates from your garden. I save all of these tips thinking one day, one day i will get the chance to have so much coming in that it requires a freezer LOL.

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  2. Oh, I'm curious to see how your tray freezing goes... If it works, it's such a neat way to do this! Funnily, we had a huge surplus last winter but now, we can't keep up with demand! Your beans look gorgeous -- I can't wait to harvest mine. Thanks for the tutorial!

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  3. Wow - never heard of freezing eggs before - I will be looking forward to hearing about how it works for you! (Not that I am ever likely to have to do this - no chickens!). And maybe next year I'll plant enough beans to have to freeze some . . . we are starting to peter out a bit here, and I am *just* starting to get tired of them. :-)

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  4. I haven't tried freezing eggs, but please let us know how it works. I'd like to try that! I love your bolg!

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  5. I am loving your blog!! Really! I spent many hours yesterday reading through your posts and learning so much.

    Please lt us know how freezing eggs works out. It sounds very interesting

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  6. This is our first year living in a place where we can finally have a super big garden. We are loving it. (And I thought it WAS super big till I saw your garden pics. Super big for us :) Thank you for doing this blog! I have used a lot of your recipes and read over your tips for all kinds of things. I really enjoy and appreciate you and your blog.

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  7. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/food_preservation/32854
    found this handy link about freezing eggs.
    i have frozen everything from whole bananas,onions,bellpeppers (whole and sliced) and all kinds of fruits and veges.
    let us know how the eggs turn out.
    love reading your blog!

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  8. Vintage Girl, Thanks for the link. I guess I left out the salt this time. I'll see how it goes anyhow and report back.

    You all say the nicest things. How'd I get such sweet readers?:-)

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  9. I live in New Hampshire, and once while touring Strawbery Banke (a living history museum in Portsmouth, NH), we listened to a docent describe how eggs used to be packed in ashes to preserve them. He said that they have tried it, and discovered that they do indeed preserve just fine. They have had them tested YEARS later, and the eggs were found to be safe to eat. I don't think I'd necessarily try this, but I thought you might find it interesting.

    Blessings!
    --Goodwife H.

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  10. I learn something new from your blog everytime I read!
    I'm going to 'shop' for a freezer. I'm running out of room already.
    Our tomatoes are coming in and I've got to make room!
    The beans are beautiful! And the egg idea... oh yes, how smart!

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  11. How many chickens do you have? I love when the eggs get so plentiful that we can share them! I didn't buy any in the winter but I also used them sparingly so I wouldn't have to! ;) I know my mother-in-law freezes her eggs I will have to ask her how she does it. Have a great weekend!

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  12. I think you will like the results of your frozen eggs, we started freezing ours last year for the same reasons you mentioned and were very happy with how they turned out. http://subsistencepatternfoodgarden.blogspot
    .com/search?q=freeze+eggs

    You are in green bean heaven.:)

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  13. Judi, We have 28 laying hens (about 8 of which are several years old), two roosters and 8 meat birds. That's about enough for now:-).

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  14. Unlike Mr. H, I was not thrilled with our frozen eggs. The ones that turned out best were the ones I scrambled up before freezing. The frozen whole yolks didn't re-liquify well and neither did the yolks that were just broken. Perhaps my issue was freezer burn or keeping them too long*, but the yolks were chunky, which was ok in scrambled eggs but I couldn't bake with them. Too bad because they sure look pretty as egg-cubes.

    *also, maybe a higher powered blender or food processor would take care of the chunky yolks, but my standard 3 speed hand mixer was insufficient.

    I'm still going to freeze eggs, and I think you should, too...just need to figure out the best way to do it...off to see if Mr. H has details on his success with this.

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  15. I'm curious to see how your eggs go as well. We keep quite a few chickens as well. We are getting about a dozen eggs a day and giving away about 5 dozen a week (and that is with several hens sitting on nests). But I remember last winter when we got down to an egg or so a day. It would be so nice to be prepared this winter.

    Let us know how they do in baking. Thanks! Or maybe I won't be so lazy and will try freezing some myself.....;)

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  16. I've frozen eggs the last 2 years trying to build up a supply for when my hens slow production in winter. I mix up a bunch with a wisk and add a pinch of salt, just like I was going to scramble them for breakfast. Put them in quart size freezer bags and freeze for up to several months. The night before I needed them I would put them in the fridge to thaw. They would still be pretty thick and goopy the next morning, but I first cooked them over low heat then turned the heat up a bit. We loved them and couldn't notice a difference. However, scrambled is the only way we used them.

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  17. I'm so interested in the freezing eggs thing. I just ask my own personal chicken farmer (Brian). He's never heard of it either. I'll be keeping my eye's open for the how it went blog.

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  18. I am so glad I found your blog. I have a 1.5 acre farm located about 30 east of San Diego called Harmony Valley Farms. You are an inspiration to me and reinforce me to follow my similar path. Fresh food, grow an store your own, teach our children the same values, and leave very little of a footprint on our earth. Keep up the great work!

    Dan

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  19. here it is a couple years later, how did the egg freezing go?

    Also, a couple months ago, I froze some fresh green beans (store bought). I blanched, shocked, and dried them best I could on a kitchen towel. They are froze now and when I tried to use some, they turned out sort of yucky. Limp, tasteless and yet crunchy. Like they were water-logged.

    I know this is a long shot since you weren't here, lol, but do you have any ideas of where I went wrong?
    thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Freezing the eggs didn't work so well. I've heard that whisking the egg whites and yolks together and adding a little salt makes it more successful, but I haven't tried this yet. As for the green beans, I'm not sure what to tell you...maybe they weren't super fresh to start with? Maybe you dried them too much (this can cause freezer burn in my experience)? And this might be ridiculous to suggest, but after they were froze, did you cook them? They won't be ready to eat thawed from the bag (that's how your description sounds). You'll need to boil them in plenty of water for 10 minutes or so depending on their size. Do taste tests and you'll know when they're done. Then, salt them a bit. Best of luck next time around!:-)

      Delete

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