When possible, I spend weekends dehydrating and canning vegetables for the winter. Our family actually grows a separate garden for this purpose which we tend to in our “spare time” and we also sometimes process the imperfect “seconds” vegetables from the CSA garden.
One of the things I made this weekend was this dilly beans recipe. If you like pickles and have trouble keeping up with the quantity of beans in your share, this is one way to preserve them for later.
If you are new to canning/pickling and want to give it a try, this is a good recipe to start with as it is not overly complicated. I got it from foodinjars.com but it originally came from “So Easy to Preserve”.
When I started canning on my own, I read “Canning and Preserving for Dummies” which, despite the slightly insulting title, is a great book. Reading it demystified the process for me and allowed me to feel confident in my ability to safely preserve fresh food!
- 2 pounds green beans trimmed to fit your jars
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional (if you like hot pickles, go for it, or include a bit of chopped up fresh CSA pepper!)
- 4 teaspoons dill seed (not dill weed)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 1/2 cups white vinegar 5%
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup pickling salt
Prep your canning pot by inserting a rack to keep your jars off the bottom of the pot, place pint jars in. A 12 ounce jelly jar is also nice, as it’s a bit taller than a standard pint and makes for less trimming) and fill it with water.
Bring to a boil to sterilize the jars while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Wash and trim your beans so that they fit in your jar. If you have particularly long beans, your best bet is to cut them in half, although by doing so, you do lose the visual appeal of having all the beans standing at attending.
Combine vinegar, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. While it’s heating up, pack your beans into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace (distance between the tops of the beans and the rim of the jar). To each jar, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove of garlic and 1 teaspoon dill seeds.
Pour the boiling brine over the beans, making sure to leave that 1/2 inch headspace. Use a plastic knife to remove air bubbles from jar by running it around the interior of the jar. Wipe the rims and apply the lids (which have been sitting in a small saucepan of water at a mere simmer for at least ten minutes in order to soften the sealing compound) and rings.
Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath (remember that you don’t start timing until the pot has come to a roiling boil).
These beans want to hang out for a least two weeks before eating, to thoroughly develop their flavour.