1/6/2017: Dilly Beans

I’m in love with pickling things. There, I said it. The first step is admitting you have a problem. I have a problem: I love pickling.

Now, I already knew that I love pickles. I am, along with my sister, the family’s official Pickle Eater. Both my parents take one bite of a crunchy, salty, tangy delicious spear of former cucumber goodness and then plop it on my plate. How in the world they could let that dripping green piece of heaven beyond their grasp is something I can’t fathom. But I’m not complaining!!

Then, about four years ago, a coworker brought in some Dilly Beans…and my world changed.

YOU CAN PICKLE OTHER THINGS??!!!

Dilly beans, for the non-educated such as myself, are another name for pickled green beans. They will change your world too.


Find the recipe Pickled Green Beans at Allrecipes.com or see below!

2.5 lb fresh green beans

2.5 C white vinegar

2 C water

1/4 C salt

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 bunch fresh dill weed*

3/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Canning jars and lids (6 half pint jars or 3-4 pint jars depending on how large your green beans are)

1. Trim green beans to 1/4 inch shorter than the height of your sterilized canning jars. (This is to ensure that, when you pour the pickling liquid into the jar, your green beans are fully submerged).

2. In a saucepan, stir together water, vinegar, and salt. Add garlic and bring to a rolling boil.

3.  In each jar, place a sprig of fresh dill weed* and a small amount of red pepper flakes. Pack the green beans upright into each jar.

4. Ladle the boiling brine into the jars, filling to 1/4 inch of the top of the jar. Discard the garlic.

5.  Seal jars with new rings and lids. Place in a hot water bath so they are covered with 1 inch of water. Simmer but do not boil for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

6. If, when the jars are cool and you press down on the center of the lid, it doesn’t move, the jars are sealed properly. Unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator. Let ferment 2-3 weeks before opening and consuming wholeheartedly.

Notes:

  • I’ve never canned before. It’s on my list of things to learn (and, with my anticipated garden coming this spring, I’d better!). However I do use mason jars as a substitute for plastic food storage containers and find them surprisingly handy. I managed to can these and presumably seal them properly (the lid didn’t move when I pushed it, so I take that as a good sign) without any specialized canning equipment. However, because I know nothing about canning and didn’t want to poison family members who would be receiving these as gifts, I kept my jars in the fridge anyway. I also don’t know how to sterilize jars…these pint beauties came out of the dishwasher for this project.
  • *I gave up attempting to find fresh dill weed sprigs in the middle of December in northern New England. Modern life is wonderful indeed sometimes, but that surpasses expectations. I used freeze dried dill that you can find in the spice section and estimated how much I thought a sprig would be in dried form and tossed that in each jar. It might have been 1/2 tsp per jar. I don’t know how fresh dill compares to the dried stuff, but these guys didn’t lack for dill flavor because of the substitution.
  • I started out with 2 lbs of green beans, and bought the prepackaged, prewashed ones (I go digging for the freshest ones at the store) to skip that step. They worked great.
  • I ended up with 4 full pint jars of beans but had to make a second batch of brining liquid to completely cover all beans in all jars. That’s probably because I didn’t use half pint jars as the original recipe called for…I couldn’t find them in my local shop. There is no reason you couldn’t use a regular quart mason jar for this also, especially if you have a pickle-loving family who will eat them relatively quickly once opened.

If you’re giving these as gifts, plan ahead for the 2-3 weeks it takes to ferment them.  Or be like me and gift them, then inform the giftee that they can’t open it for another 1-2 weeks!

These dilly beans are unusual in that the beans aren’t precooked before canning. This makes them retain their green bean flavor while still developing a one-two-three punch of crunch, tang and salt. And, while I’m not a fan of very spicy things, the small amount of red pepper flakes does contribute a pleasant heat that will help clear any stuffed up sinuses.

My brother, who is not known for his love of pickles, called them awesome.

I didn’t think they’d taste so fresh and crunchy. I was eating them like french fried potato sticks. Keep em coming!

brother

My brother is not known for being an effusive chap, so I take this as high praise indeed.

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