Thursday, October 28, 2010

Green Bean Pickles

I made refrigerator pickles a while ago and while I loved them, I was required to eat them within a month. Of course I did finish all of the pickles by that time because they were quite awesome (if I do say so myself) but something inside of me longed to make them more permanent. I happened to have a ton of green beans at home that I got from the farmers market when I was really craving green beans but as soon as I got them home and into my fridge I no longer wanted them. They sat and sat in my fridge until I had the brilliant idea of turning them into pickles. My favorite pickles at the store are always the ones that aren’t cucumbers. I love the okra, green beans, and asparagus so much. They are really expensive though. I think a jar of okra pickles runs for just under five dollars so I don’t often get them. So I was absolutely ready to make some of my own green bean pickles and can them but then I foolishly decided to look at a little bit of the literature online about botulism. Suddenly I was completely terrified of killing all of my family and friends who trusted my cooking skills enough to eat my pickles. Literally on the night that I made these I was awake absolutely paralyzed with fear of eating them. Canning is a strange process in that way for me because under normal circumstances the only thing I want to do is eat what I have just made. In the case of canning, I had my boyfriend try a pickle first before I did. Although, if the pickles had botulism in them it wouldn’t have mattered who tried them first since the symptoms take about eight hours to show up. I tried them on Tuesday—the recipe calls for waiting two weeks before trying them—and they were great. My fears were totally unjustified and now I can’t stop eating them. They are perfectly crisp and spicy, just like the perfect pickle should be. I think this may have helped me in my journey to screw all of my friends out of real Christmas presents this year. Haha! Take canned goods friends and family.  

My grandparents in Oklahoma have a really huge garden and I remember watching my Grandma canning all of the vegetables from the garden quite religiously and getting plenty of those cans to take home. I didn’t really learn too much and I had to scour the internet for proper canning instructions.
I felt pretty ingenious for coming up with a system of finding out how many green beans would fit in each jar. I added a clove of garlic and some springs of dill to the pile too.
The red pepper flakes become reconstituted after a while and look really cool at the bottom of the jar. It makes them look like a legitimate jar of pickles from the supermarket.
I only get internet in the kitchen right now and was working on a paper all day so I got to hear all four cans make a nice “ping” sound from the lids sealing. It was pretty satisfying.
I used this recipe from all recipes but it was kind of weird. I don’t know how anyone could fit these into half pint jars, green beans seem far too tall for that. I made four pint jars to use up all of my green beans which required a bit more brine which I had to make on the fly with no real measurements. Since this recipe makes 6 half pint jars, it would also make 3 pint jars.

2 ½ pounds fresh green beans trimmed to fit into jars
2 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
¼ cup salt
1 clove of garlic plus additional for jars if desired
1 bunch fresh dill
¾ tsp red pepper flakes or more if you like it spicy (like me)

1. Sterilize 6 half-pint canning jars or three pint jars, rings, and lids (I found the Ball website to be the most helpful for this if you are new to canning like me). Keep the jars and accoutrements hot until ready to fill. Trim green beans to be ¼ inch shorter than the jar.

2. In a medium saucepan, stir together the vinegar, water, and salt. Add in one clove of garlic and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. In each jar place a sprig of dill, a clove of garlic (perhaps only half in half-pint jars) if you want, and 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (more for pint jars). Stack the green beans on their ends in the jars.

3. Use a funnel and ladle equal parts of the brine into each of the jars, leaving ¼ inch of room at the top of the jar. Seal the jars with the hot lids and rings. Place jars in a large pot with enough water to cover by an inch and simmer the jars to properly preserve for at least 10 minutes—adjust for altitiude if necessary. I live in Denver so I processed them for about twenty minutes. Remove the jars from the water and cool to room temperature. Don’t mess with them for the next 24 hours except to test the seals on the jar. If the lid isn’t tight, refrigerate the jar and eat them up quick.

4. Wait two to three painful weeks until you try them.

Note: or you can forgo the canning process all together and just eat them as refrigerator pickles. It may have been better for me since mine will all be eaten up well within a month anyway.

Find these on Vegetarian Foodie Fridays, Fight Back Fridays, Foodie Fridays, Friday Potluck, and Fresh, Clean and Pure Fridays. Whew!


  1. Oh yum, I love pickles. This looks like a perfect way to store up for the winter and ensure that you always have a tasty snack on hand. By the way, I'll be having a CSN giveaway on my blog next Monday, so be sure to check back then for a chance to enter.

  2. My best friend would be so impressed with me if I made these. She is a pickle-maker extraordinaire, but I have never tried my hand at them. Thanks for linking up to VFF!

  3. wow, something new for me to try! sounds yummy! happy weekend! :)

  4. Trina, I love pickles of every shape, size and variety! I've never made my own though - thanks for sharing your methodology! I've got a so-so track record with canning, but mine wouldn't last long anyway either... refrigerator pickles, here we come! Thanks for sharing at Friday Potluck this week!


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