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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: (
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’

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.

  Leave a reply


  1. I only put about 120ml water in, didn’t even quite totally cover them and it came out fine. Like others, I put more sugar in. Haven’t tried it yet but it looks great. made 3 x small kilner jars from 750g of beans.

  2. Maureen

    Regarding blanch/not blanch, my understanding is that veg which has been in contact with the soil, eg root crops, should be blanched as soil contains more bacteria. Veg grown above ground need not be blanched if only intend to keep for about six months. Above this time green veg starts to lose colour and eventually becomes unpalatable. Freezing only slows down bacterial activity, does not halt it completely. Hope this helps.

  3. Am in the middle of making this chutney and logged on (as it didnt look right) to see if I’d done anything wrong!! Have already added more sugar as could tell it was not going to be enough, but will add some brown sugar too. Thanks for the tips! It smells delicious! Can’t wait to try!!

  4. What Sara says is true, at least according to the edicts of previous generations, but the real question is: if true, what is the proof that that is so?
    Is there anyone out there with a scientific background that can formulate a convincing line of argument to ‘prove’ the point?


  5. blanching is supposed to seal in the flavour and to kill off any nasty mirco organisms

  6. I also should have mentioned in my previous post that I didn’t add any water.

  7. I made this chutney during the week and it has turned out fantastically…so glad I looked this recipe up, although I would say having made both pepper & green tomoato chutney this year from our garden produce that this had turned out more of a relish but delicious with cheese and cold meats…just waiting on another crop of beans to mature and I’ll be making another batch. BTW I use 225g of sugar a mix of white granulated and light brown.

  8. Hi My runner beans are past their best, pretty large and fibrous now. Do you think I could still make chutney with them?

  9. I’m thinking of making this chutney as it’s the only one I can find!
    Re: blanching, my gran used to say it was a waste of time so I’ve never done it and everything we freeze tastes just as good!

  10. I added 300grms of green tomatoes finely chopped to add some thing that would break down to hold the beans in a more chutney consistency also I used 250grms of soft light brown sugar and 1 I added extra spices (curry powder & sweet paprika)it goes very well with curries. also I cut my runner beans much finer.

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