Butter beans or lima beans are one of the tastiest sources of plant-based protein. Popular for their meaty texture, they’re available fresh or canned throughout the whole year.
Awesome for a variety of dishes, including casseroles, stews, soups, etc., these beans are one of the most versatile foods ever!
But, what to do with a big batch of fresh butter beans or leftover cooked butter beans? Could you prolong their longevity by freezing them? Is freezing them a suitable option to preserve their quality and safety?
Keep reading to find out the answers to these questions as well as some additional information that you didn’t know you needed so much!
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Fresh, cooked, and canned butter beans can all be frozen. Freezing helps prolong their safety and quality and preserves their taste.
It’s an excellent option for storage when you have a surplus batch of fresh butter beans that you don’t plan to use soon or if you have leftovers from meals with butter beans.
Canned leftover butter beans are also freezer-safe and it’s a great option if you don’t use the whole can at once.
By freezing fresh butter beans, you prevent them from spoilage and insects. You can pack them into several smaller bags or containers for easy thawing and use in recipes.
You can keep them there for up to six to nine months. If you pack them in vacuum bags and store them in a deep freezer, they stay safe for consumption for up to 14 months.
How Do You Freeze Butter Beans?
When you want to freeze fresh butter beans, there’s one thing that you mustn’t forget, i.e., blanch them.
Blanching is recommended for veggies, either before you serve them or before you freeze them.
This process that’s mostly used with fruits and veggies requires submerging them into boiling water and cooling them right after so that they stop cooking.
This method deactivates the process of certain enzymes that may contribute to a loss of taste and flavor in the fruit or veggie.
The blanching process cooks the food briefly so this food practically remains still raw. Follow the steps below for optimal blanching and freezing of fresh butter beans:
- To blanch the beans, fill a pot with boiling water and then submerge the beans into the water
- Keep them in the boiling water for two to four minutes, depending on their size (the bigger they are, the longer you should keep them in the water)
- Have another pot of cold water nearby and once you take them out of the boiling water, submerge them into the cold water
- Dry the beans using a clean cloth and prepare them for the initial freeze
- Put them on a tray or a sheet and spread them well so that the beans aren’t touching each other
- Freeze them for several hours (this is done to prevent the beans from clumping) before bagging them
- Prepare the freezer bags and divide the beans into the wanted portion sizes
- Squeeze as much air out of the bags as possible and close them
- Sign the bags and put them back into the freezer (you can add the date of blanching and the use-by date)
Can You Freeze Butter Beans without Blanching?
You can freeze butter beans by skipping the blanching step.
However, if you do this, the risk of ruining the beans is higher. This is because the enzymes will cause loss of taste, color, and texture.
The beans may be mushier and their flavor may not be as potent as when you blanch them.
If you’ve made your favorite casserole with butter beans, but you made a bit too much and now you have leftovers, don’t worry.
You needn’t toss them away!
Freeze them instead and preserve their deliciousness and quality. By freezing leftover butter beans, you prolong their longevity and ensure no food is wasted in your household.
With only a couple of tricks up your sleeve, you can easily freeze the leftover beans and they will preserve their optimal taste like the first time you cooked them. Follow the tips below to ensure maximum freezing of butter beans for up to six months:
- Don’t overcook the beans to prevent them from going mushy and splitting (this helps maintain the texture after they’re frozen)
- Adding a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar at the end of cooking the dish will help better its texture and maintain its freshness (add it shortly before the meal is ready)
- Cool the beans entirely prior to freezing to ensure they start freezing right away and the risk of bacteria forming is brought to a minimal
- Divide the leftovers into several containers or bags rather than putting all of them in one (easier storage, portion-size amounts, and faster freezing)
Can You Freeze Butter Beans from a Tin?
Canned butter beans are a tasty, convenient, and affordable option to add this nutritious food to your diet. When you didn’t use the whole can of butter beans, you can easily freeze them for later.
You can keep them inside the can and in the fridge for up to three days. If you don’t use them within this period, it’s best to transfer them out of the can into a freezer-safe container.
Before you do that, rinse the beans and then fill the container or a bag with water to fully immerse them inside. When they’re ready, close the bag or container, and don’t forget to label it with a date.
Use them within six months for optimal quality and tasty. Before you use them, thaw and strain them.
Butter beans aren’t just delicious, but they’re also easy to freeze. All types of butter beans, including fresh, cooked, and from a can, can be frozen for up to six months.
When properly cooked and frozen, they will maintain their taste and texture and you can enjoy a tasty meal in the future.
Thanks to freezing, we don’t have any more excuses to throw away precious food, do we?