Thanks to the ranting and raving of various people, I have discovered a great new way to use all of those green beans and wax beans that I am harvesting at the moment. Over the past few years, when discussing preserving the garden harvest I have heard numerous people mention dilly beans and how much they love them. I must admit, the thought of pickled beans did not sound that good to me at first. At some point, however, I just could not ignore the fact that a LOT of people seemed to like these dilly beans.
When the bush beans started producing a few weeks ago, I dug out my canning books and looked for a recipe. I found several variations and decided to use the following simple recipe out of The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving:
Yield: about 4 pints or 2 quarts
2 pounds green beans
1/4 c. canning salt
2 1/2 cups vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1 t. cayenne pepper, divided
4 cloves garlic
4 heads dill
Trim ends off green beans. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large sauce-pot. Bring to a boil. Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 cloves garlic and 2 heads dill to each quart jar. Ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
I gathered up the ingredients, which are pretty basic.
I cleaned the beans and stacked them in the jars, trying to get a nice blend of green and yellow beans for color. Packing the jars is the most time-consuming part of the process. I then dropped in the garlic clove and shoved the dill head in along-side the beans. The finishing touch was to dump in the cayenne pepper. This is what really gives these beans a good kick!
I processed the jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath, as directed.
And that’s all there is to it! It really is that easy.
We opened a jar after a couple of days to give them a taste to see if it was worth making anymore with our bean harvest. The results were surprising and like everyone had told me, these dilly beans are really dilly-icious! If you like pickled things with a bit of heat, go ahead and make a batch to try. You’ll be glad you did.