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Can You Freeze Butter Beans?

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By Ross Young

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Butter beans, also known as lima beans, have a hearty and almost meat-like consistency and are rich in protein. You can most commonly buy them fresh or canned, and the latter tends to preserve their shelf-life somewhat.

They’re a great addition to seasonal casseroles and chilli dishes and are extremely versatile. I

f you’ve picked up a batch of fresh butter beans in season, you might be wondering if you can freeze them to preserve them for later in the year. Let’s dive in and take a look.

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze butter beans. Butter beans can be frozen for around 9 months. If you want to freeze butter beans for even longer, they can be frozen for up to fourteen months if they’re vacuum packed in a deep freezer.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How to Freeze Butter Beans

Freezing butter beans requires a little bit of preparation, as you will need to blanch them first. This is to prevent the enzymatic process that causes vegetables to lose their flavour and taste over time.

We’ve listed the necessary steps you need to take in order to blanch and freeze your butter beans below.

  1. Blanch
    To blanch your butter beans, add some boiling water to a pan or bowl. You should then submerge your butter beans in the water for around 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of your beans. You can use a strainer to place your beans in the water. After the minutes are up, you will need to submerge them in a bowl of ice-cold water to stop them from cooking.
  2. Dry
    Grab a clean dishcloth or thick paper towels and dab your butter beans dry. You could even empty them onto a tray to speed up the process.
  3. Freeze Initially
    Place your butter beans on a tray on top of a sheet of greaseproof paper. Make sure they’re not touching one another, before transferring them to the freezer. You should freeze them initially for a couple of hours. This will ensure they don’t clump together in the freezer when you bag them up.
  4. Separate Into Portion Sizes
    When your butter beans are frozen solid, separate them into appropriate portion sizes and place them into freezer-safe bags. Press as much air as you can from the bags before sealing.
  5. Label and Return to Freezer: Once you have your individual bags sealed and ready to freeze, make sure you label them. Add the date that you blanched them, as well as the desired use by date. 

3 Tips for Freezing Butter Beans

Now you know how to freeze them, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing butter beans to have the best results:

  • Get the Ratios Right – When blanching your butter beans, it’s important that you measure your water in advance. As a guide, aim to use no more than one gallon of boiling water to blanch one pound of butter beans.
  • Consider Bean Sizes – Also, pay attention to the size of your butter beans before blanching them. Smaller beans will only need to be blanched for around two minutes, whereas larger beans will need around four minutes. It’s important that you blanch your beans sufficiently before freezing them.
  • Store in the Fridge Instead – If you think you will use your butter beans within a few days of blanching them, you can simply bag them up and place them in the fridge, there’s no need to freeze them. Your butter beans should be good in the fridge for 3-4 days. However, we recommend freezing them as soon as you can, to make sure they’re super fresh when you put them in the freezer.

How Long Can You Freeze Butter Beans?

You can freeze butter beans for around nine months.

Freezing butter beans is the best way to preserve them when they’re out of season. Whether you grow them or buy them fresh from your local grocery store, placing them in the freezer will ensure you can enjoy delicious butter beans all year round.

You Can Freeze Butter Beans for up to 9 Months

How Do You Defrost Butter Beans?

The vast majority of frozen vegetables, including butter beans, don’t need to be defrosted before you cook them. Cooking them is a simple matter of adding your beans to boiling water and waiting for them to be cooked to your preference.

If you’re cooking them as they are and not adding them to a recipe, your butter beans will take between 7-10 minutes to cook from frozen.

Can You Refreeze Butter Beans?

If you happen to take too many butter beans out of the freezer at one time, it’s possible to freeze the leftovers if you choose. You can also freeze cooked butter beans, but you should be mindful that their texture might change when you freeze them.

Your beans might go mushy or at least soft if you freeze them more than once, so bear that in mind before you decide to refreeze them.

Do Butter Beans Freeze Well?

Butter beans, like many other vegetables, freeze really well. We’d go as far as to say that it’s probably the best way to preserve your butter beans, as you don’t need to worry about them going off when they’re in the freezer.

Providing you’ve frozen them while they’re super fresh, you will be able to enjoy delicious butter beans all year round, thanks to their long freezer life.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing butter beans or beans in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Leftover Canned Beans?

Yes, you can freeze leftover canned beans in an airtight container. Once frozen, ensure you use them up within 6 months. 

Can You Freeze Mashed Butter Beans?

If you want to limit your carb intake and therefore want to avoid mashed potatoes, mashed butter beans make for a great alternative. You can freeze mashed butter beans either in an ice cube tray for small portions or in a cupcake/muffin tray for larger portions. 

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