Green beans are a summer staple and blanching them is one of the easiest ways to cook them to crisp perfection. Don’t settle for frozen or canned green beans when you can get beautiful fresh beans at the market! Blanching is one of the easiest basic techniques to learn and works on all kinds of vegetables.
One of the main benefits of blanching is that it prevents overcooking. It also preserves the color of the vegetables (green beans actually get brighter). The key is putting them in an ice bath to stop the cooking just when the vegetables are perfectly cooked and brilliantly colored.
To blanch green beans, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil (at least a gallon of water and it should be salty enough that it tastes like the ocean). While the water comes to a boil, trim your green beans. We’ve found that instead of snapping the ends off, cutting them with a utility knife is much faster. Unless your green beans are really dirty, you don’t need to wash them since you’ll be boiling them anyways. Next, prepare an ice bath with ice and cold water in a large bowl.
When your water is at a full boil, drop the green beans into the boiling pot and cover until the water returns to a boil (should be quick). It should only take 2-3 minutes to blanch the green beans, and you can tell when they are ready by the color. The beans will have turned a vibrant green. Remove quickly from the water with a large strainer or tongs and put them straight into the ice bath. The key to blanching is to have enough volume of boiling water that the temperature doesn’t drop too much when you add the green beans, and enough ice to stop the cooking completely before the hot beans melt the ice.
Once your beans are blanched and cooled you can use them any way you like. We think they would be great in a salad with our go-to Meyer Lemon and Shallot Vinaigrette.
- 1 gallon of water
- French Gray Sea Salt
- 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
- Meyer Lemon and Shallot Dressing (see recipe)
- Put at least one gallon of water in a large stock pot and add a generous amount of salt. It should taste like the ocean.
- Bring the water to a vigorous boil and add the trimmed green beans. Cover with a lid until the water returns to a boil.
- Check the green beans periodically. After 2-3 minutes the beans should be bright green. Remove from the boiling water and put in the ice bath to cool.
- Drain and tolls beans with dressing.