There was a time where our garden was overflowing with vegetables. That was when summers in Seattle would actually get above 80 degrees for a period of time. As I have written in the many of my recent posts, it seems as if global warming is having the opposite effect in Seattle, and we are having more snow in the winter, and cooler weather in the summer. My husband still has a beautiful garden, and tries to grow what he can, but we certainly don’t have an overabundance of vegetables – which is really too bad given my recent canning obsession. Fortunately we have plenty of farmers markets in the area that can feed my habit…
One of my very first favorite “adult” cocktails was the Bloody Mary. First of all, I LOVED tomato juice as a kid, even better would be a can of V8. I would take that over soda any day of the week. In fact, when I was young, and my father would take me into his office, they had cans of these in the refrigerator. I would drink as many as I could while I was there – I can’t believe all the salt didn’t blow me up like a balloon – ok I digress. So – since I loved V8 so much, this was the perfect cocktail for me. I also looked forward to a big celery stick that would give me a little snack as I drank my beverage. One day I specifically remember getting a Bloody Mary with a pickled bean as the garnish – ok, that just about blew my mind, it was so delicious. When I saw this recipe in Food in Jars, I immediately thought of that cocktail. I couldn’t wait to try them. These are incredible. They are extremely crispy, and have the perfect dill flavor. They are almost too good – you can easily polish a jar off without even blinking an eye. In fact, I think my step-father may have done just that.
So thank goodness for the farmer’s markets – and thanks to that nice stand that dealt with me and my obsessive compulsive behavior – picking out the perfect beans to use. I think if I did that in my husband’s garden, I would drive him to drink…
- 2 pounds green beans, trimmed to fit your jars
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 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 (use a bit more if you’ve only got kosher)
Prep your canning pot by inserting a rack to keep your jars off the bottom of the pot, place pint jars in (wide-mouth pints work best here. 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 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 flavor.
Makes 4 half-pint jars.
For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Dilly Beans