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Runner Bean Chutney Recipe. How to freeze runner beans.

runner beans in trugThis morning John Coe and I went down to the kitchen garden to check what was available and edible. For the last few days, I’ve been back late and have gone down with a torch to quickly snatch the vegetables for supper. I discovered that we have finally got our longed for glut of runner beans.

The Runner Bean Couple down the road have had their stand laden with huge bunches for the last few weeks. I wonder what they are financing with their takings which must be huge. Our production is not quite at their level so rather than set up a rival stand, I decided to make runner bean chutney. We don’t have a recipe for this so I searched the internet for an interesting recipe and came across a foody forum with a couple of runner bean chutney recipes: (http://50connect.co.uk/tisql/topic.asp?forumid=17&topicid=286&nodes=286/287)
One recipe was written by Mark Hix, one of our favourite chefs, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It’s a spicy chutney and looks and smells promising, although it needs to mature for a couple of months. All of his recipes that I’ve tried work well so you might like to try this one now as you’ll have to wait until November for our verdict.

How to freeze runner beans

We freeze quite a few runner beans each year. We wash and dry them well, string and chop them and pop into freezer bags. Some people blanche them but we find the no blanche method works well. When you want to eat them make sure that your water is boiling rapidly before you take the beans out of the freezer. Then put the frozen beans straight into the boiling water and cook to taste.

I used Le Parfait jars for this chutney. If you need tips on vacuum sealing, see Tips and Tricks below.

Green bean chutney
Makes about 1/3 litre
By Mark Hix
Published: 23 July 2005 from ‘The Independent on-line’
(http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/food_and_drink/recipes/article300888.ece)

There are only so many ways of using up a glut of runner beans. Serving them as a salad with vinaigrette is a short-term alternative to having them hot with butter, but chutney is the best long-term solution.

2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
Black seeds from 15 cardamom pods
1 tsp ground cumin
1tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp chilli flakes
120ml vegetable oil
2tbsp granulated sugar NB read the comments below and add more sugar (starting with 225g)
100ml white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
750g runner beans, trimmed and cut into 1-1.5 cm chunks

Gently cook the onion, garlic and spices in the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes without colouring until soft. Add the sugar and vinegar, season and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the beans, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan, leave to cool and store in sterilised Kilner jars in a cool place for up to a couple of months. If you want to keep the chutney longer, the jars should be vacuum sealed.

Tips and Tricks:

  • How do I sterilise Le Parfait jars and rubber rings?

Le Parfait jars can be used over and over again, as long as they are washed and sterilised just before use. Use new rubber rings every time the jar is reused. (Rubber rings are available from good kitchen shops. Living in the country, I tend to buy up a few packs if I see them so as to have them to hand when we start bottling). , The sterilising method that we use is simple. Just before making the chutney, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c/140c for fan assisted. When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for five minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.

  • How do I vacuum seal Le Parfait jars?

Fit a new rubber ring to your washed and sterilised Le Parfait jars, and fill to the level indicated on the jar, (this will be a line on the side of the jar). Put the jars into a deep saucepan and put an old tea towel between them so that they can’t jiggle together and break. Pour water to a level that generously covers the jars (at least 2½ inches or 6 cm above the lids). Bring the water slowly to the boil. When the water boils turn off the heat and let the jars stand submerged until cool.

This method works well for us and we have never found a bad seal when we come to open the jars. It’s hard to prise the lids off if there is a vacuum seal. I usually give the lids a bit off a tug to check the seals. We sometimes use glass preserving jars with screw top lids (not old jam jars but a Kilner type of jar). Some people think that these are safer to use as you can easily see whether you have a vacuum as there is a small section in the centre of the lid that is concave if you have a obtained a good seal. Use the same method as outlined above.
USE THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE AT YOUR OWN RISK. ALL ‘CANNING’ /PRESERVING METHODS VARY SLIGHTLY FOR EACH TYPE OF JAR, SO TRY AND KEEP THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT COME WITH THE JARS IN A SAFE PLACE FOR FUTURE REFERENCE


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34 Comments

  1. plumsource

    Hi again!

    I wonder if you can help? I picked, cut, blanched and froze lots of our runner beans a few weeks ago. I’d really like to make a chutney. This recipe sounds lovely btw. Can I calculate the thawed weight of my beans when they’re frozen (I assume they’re heavier when frozen?)Or do I have to thaw before weighing? Hope this makes sense!

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Plumsource,

    I just don’t know. If I was you I would weigh a small frozen handful and then weigh the same unfrozen. Then proceed with the chutney, using the frozen beans as unfrozen weight. Frozen beans retain their crispness when cooked. Unfrozen from frozen beans tend to flop. I™d love to hear how the chutney turns out for you.

  3. John Perrin

    How did the chutney work out? I should hit my glut of beans in the next week or two and this sounds like an ideal use for them.

    • Fiona Nevile

      This is a good recipe but I’m hoping to post my own soon.

  4. John Perrin

    Made it! And very nice it is to. Espcially when it’s just out of the pan. The only problem I have is that i only have tupperware containers to put it in. How long would you imagine it would keep? Can it be frozen or kept in the fridge?

    I still have lots more beans to come so I’ll be interested to see your take on the recipe.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hello John

      Great that you like the pickle. Yes, you are right it needs to be packed into sterilised jars to keep it fresh for months. Also the flavours develop too.

      I reckon that it should keep in the fridge for a week otherwise.

      If you freeze it the vegetables probably will go mushy.

  5. PoPo Hawkey

    I do not follow the bit about “cover with water” – do you mean, add water to the bean mixture until it covers everything?

    PoPo Hawkey

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi PP

    It means add enough water to just cover the beans.

  7. Hi
    I just tried this recipe and ended up with a very unappetising grey soup, very runny and greasy. Not sure where I went wrong, however the amount of sugar seems very small for a chutney. Clearly I went wring somewhere.

  8. Hi
    I had loads of runner beans and tried this recipe, it also looked like grey runny soup so I added some dark brown sugar and some pectin liquid. It still looks a bit odd but tastes really nice. I added some spicy yellow peppers as well.

  9. Tracey White

    I TOO ENDED UP WITH A GREY SLOPPY SOUP, NOT AT ALL NICE, I FOLLOWED THE RECIPE FULLY AND ENDED UP ADDING AN EXTRA 1LB OF BROWN SUGAR AND FURTHER COOKING TIME WHICH PRODUCED A VERY TASTY, THICKENED CHUTNEY.

  10. I saw this recipe this afternoon after doing a search.. as my runners have decided to give me a second batch./ looking at the sugar I think it is incorrect as I checked a recipe that called for 1kg beans to 300g sugar. think I will try adding more sugar

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