Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Not Your Grandma's Green Beans!


A couple summers ago, my husband brought home a "Seal-a-Meal" to use for some of our garden produce. We have learned a few things and have it down to a science with what we like to keep in the freezer from our summer harvest. Since we weren't too fond of canned corn or beans, now all I can the regular old-fashioned way is tomatoes, salsa, tomato juice, and jams and jellies.

The rest of the time, we are using this handy little thing for some of our favorite freezer vegetables. It works wonderfully for:

  • Green beans (we freeze these whole, if they're broken up, they seem not to cook as nicely and get way too soggy), we prepare these by snapping off the ends, washing them well, then laying them out on cookie sheets with paper toweling underneath so they'll dry completely. These are frozen in quart size bags.
  • Corn on the cob, this is steamed, drained and cooled, then frozen with 6-8 pieces per package for our average meal size. They taste great, just slightly more soggy cob than if fresh and keep for at least a year, perhaps more.
  • Summer squash or zuchinni: we slice it thick for either frying or using in potato packets on the grill. Zuchinn can also be shredded, drained, and then frozen in packages just the right size for your zuchinni bread recipe! No preparation, just wash, chunk up (or shred!) and freeze in quart size bags.
  • Blueberries: just wash, lay out on cookie sheets with paper toweling, and dry completely, then freeze in the size you need for your favorite recipes...usually 2 cups each for us.
My husband usually does all the sealing after I get things ready to go, because he actually enjoys using this "power tool"...it's just a man thing, I guess but I don't mind at all! They are very simple to use, and the machine isn't a high-dollar item. Where they make their money is the heavy bags. I've found them at Sam's in a big bulk-sized pack that lasts us a long time at a fairly reasonable price.

The nice thing about this is it's a quick way to fill the freezer and preserves the food you grew to "almost fresh" standards!

I would LOVE to hear what you use your SEAL-A-MEAL for!

15 comments:

Happy@Home said...

Well, I don't have a Seal A Meal, but I enjoyed seeing how you use yours. I think it would be fabulous to enjoy all of that homegrown produce throughout the winter.

Sue said...

Hi Joni
I have the FoodSaver sealer-same thing....
I use it for everything. As it is just Don and myself, it's great for big recipe items like meatloaf, etc. I just slice the leftovers and freeze. I can pull out just as many slices as I want. I also use it for all sorts of leftovers.
You can freeze the liquids in the bag--just seal first without the suctioning, then, after the item is frozen, cut open the top and vacuum seal. I freeze beef or chicken broth and soups like that.
Take care
Sue

Connie said...

I have a vacuum sealer our son bought us several years ago and I just LOOOOOVE it, honey. Just this year we've eaten a pork chop that we sealed in 2000 and it tasted just fine, no freezer burn or anything. I don't know why more people don't get these sealers.....
xoxo,
Connie

Donna said...

We have a food saver and love it. In addition to keeping veggies, we repackage meat and seal it to prevent freezer burn. It has paid for itself many times over!

KathyB. said...

As soon as I finished reading this post I got in the car, drove to Walmart and bought one , as a birthday present to myself. I have been canning jam like crazy but the green beans and snap peas just don't can as deliciously as I would like.

The Seal-A-Meal is on the table ready to be opened and used tonight! I am looking forward to filling my freezer, thanks for the recommendation.

Kar said...

I'm going to have to get one of the sealing machines. Looks so simple!

Love the Summertime special you had the other night! My kind of meal! It's making me hungry now. :)

xxxx

Karen said...

What a beautiful home and all the summer produce sounds delicious. Grandmother used to can everything in Mason Jars! It took forever.
Thank you for stopping by Lily Valley. I love your blog.

from our front porch... said...

I love the Seal-a-meal! Funny thing, so does my hubby! He is always up for work in the kitchen when it includes this!
Misha

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I'm on my second Seal-a-Meal; those things are fantastic! Like you, I use it for garden produce and for meat...it's great for preventing freezer burn in meat!

Kathie Truitt said...

Are you kidding? I don't have one of these 'new-fangled' gadgets, but you can bet I'll ask Santa to bring one! Cool!

Kathleen Grace said...

I have a seal a meal too. I have only ever frozen my beans by blanching them first and have never liked the way this makes them kind of rubbery. Didn't know you could freeze without blanching! Are they less rubbery this way?

Tara said...

I really like this idea...gonna go get one next week!

:)

Renee DeLano said...

i love seal a meal! great blog!!

Joy said...

I need to check into one of these. We just can't use all the produce we grows in the summer and end up giving most of it away.

Sincerely, Emily said...

Hey there, we are just about finished building our raised beds for the beg garden & I have planted beans and zuc right now (from seed). I am looking forward to freezing the beans. My parents have blanched them so that is what I thought I would do. Now after reading your post I will try both methods and then decide what we like best. I need to start looking around for a small freezer to hold it all. Questions...where do you get your rubber gaskets for your glass jars (like one in photo of Sun Pickles)? I just happened across 3 in an odd-type hardware store in San Francisco, just haven't found them anywhere near home & I need more. Thanks, Emily