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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 have just made this and it’s blummin lovely 😀
    I did adapt the recipe a little though…I used 1/2lb of natural demorara (after reading the comments about grey chutney) and 225ml vinegar. I omitted the water and just boiled everything together until the chutney was thick and glossy – thus avoiding the need for cornflour

  2. Hi fn,

    If it is possible to freeze vegetables without first going through the process of blancheing them, why in times previous have we always been advised so to do?


    • Fiona Nevile

      Hello WG

      Yes it is but blanching gives better results I reckon. I have no idea why we were advised to do this in the past.

  3. Making this for the second time – what this recipe needs is turmeric and cornflour at the end to thicken it up otherwise it is too runny – the flavour is wonderful – suggest rewriting the recipe with less water and the added cornflour.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Jenny

      Thanks for the tips – will update the recipe later today.

  4. I would recommend no oil, no water and much more vinegar and sugar, these are the ingredients that will preserve the chutney. The more liquid that goes in the more you need to cook it to evaporate it off.
    Everything goes in the pot then boil until it looks a rich, brown mush.
    Save your ordinary jam jars, then wash them and heat in oven for 5 minutes to sterilise. Wash tops and rinse in boiling water.

  5. sheila

    I don’t like garlic so would the recipe still work?

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Chris

    Ours taste fine. I did cut them very small and I cook them from frozen – putting them straight into boiling salted water.

    You could try making a spicy sauce for them. Or adding them to a curry. Trial and error really.

  7. Hi

    I froze quite a few runner beans this year (without blanching) and they definitely have and odd taste to them when they are cooked. Would a spicy recipe disguise this taste or am I best to throw them out?

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Sylvia

    Yes not blanching them works very well. We’ve been enjoying them from the freezer recently – a real taste of summer.

  9. I’m so glad that I can freeze runner beans without blanching them, saves heaps of time and mess! I’m going to make the chutney this morning as the weather is’nt too hot.

    Sylvia, Denmark, Western Australia.

  10. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Roz, Linda, Tracy and Katy

    Thanks all of you for your input. Clearly the recipe needs more sugar – I’ll update the post.

    Hopefully by next year I’ll have developed my own recipe 🙂

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