Dilly Beans – Adventures in Pickling Vol. 1

16 08 2014

dillybeansOne of my earliest memories in a kitchen was my grandmother canning. When I say canning, I mean it. She was serious. She did cherries, plums, apricots, peaches…and horrible pickles! See, grandma was on a salt restricted diet and that meant making pickles with NO SALT. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they were foul, nasty little cucumber bombs. I loved my grandma more than anything but I still can’t see past those horrible little things.

You’d think that those early memories would sour my relationship with pickles but you’d be oh so wrong, I love em! Sour, sweet, salty, spicy or any combination thereof, bring em on.

I kind of lost touch with canning and pickling for the better part of three decades but in the last few years, it’s been reawakened by my wife’s family, notably my mother-in-law Nancy. She’s got all sorts of goodness in her cupboards and last season I had some fun helping her put some of it up. This year, she surprised me with an early birthday bonanza of my very own canning rig and accessories and it got the wheels turning in my head about the possibilities.

She also supplied a nice bunch of fresh green beans from their garden that same day and from there, only one thing could happen, DILLY BEANS.

This recipe is really simple, the original in the Ball Blue Book, give them a shot, they are great, even the next day.

Yield: 2 quarts

  • 2 lbs green beans
  • 1/4 c salt (non iodized)
  • 2 1/2 c distilled white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 c water
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 heads dill
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional and divided)

Clean green beans, trimming ends. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. To each jar add 2 dill heads, 2 cloves of garlic and pack green beans lengthwise. The original directions say that the jars should be hot since most canning instructions say that you should sterilize the jars.  From the dishwasher is fine and as long as they aren’t cold enough to crack when hot liquids are added, you’ll be fine. Using a wide funnel, pour the pickling liquid in to the jar, leaving a 1/2 inch at the top. Use two part lids (lid and ring) and cap them off hand tight. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

When removing, place on a wood cutting board or towel, leaving space between jars and let them cool naturally for 12 to 24 hours.

 

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