This past week, I picked an abundance of green & yellow snap beans. I cooked some up for my Italian Bean Salad (a summer favorite of mine), but I had over two gallons of beans left. Instead of blanching and freezing them, I decided to pickle them. I’ve never had pickled beans, but I love pickled anything. So, I looked over several recipes for pickled beans, noted what herbs and vinegar flavors I like, and came up with my own recipe. I pickled my beans last night and opened one of the jars tonight for the big taste test – and it’s a keeper! Now, I share the recipe with you.
PICKLED SNAP BEANS
- 4 lb fresh snap beans (approximately enough to fill 2 gallon-sized baggies), trimmed and cut
- 48-64 two-inch springs of fresh dill (6-8 sprigs per jar)
- 16 cloves of garlic, diced (2 cloves per jar)
- 3/4 cup pickling or canning salt (can substitute 3/4 cup + 1.5 Tablespoons kosher salt)
- 6 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)
- 6 cups water
- 3 dried bay leaves, whole
- 1.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 8 pint-sized mason jars with lids and screw caps
- Canning pot (for hot water bath) and canning accessories
1. Remove the screw caps and lids from the mason jars and sterilize everything in boiling water. Although the National Center for Home Food Preservation states that pre-sterilizing mason jars is unnecessary for pickles and preserves that will be put into a hot water bath for at least ten minutes, I still pre-sterilize my jars. I’m a newbie at this, and I want to be sure everything is sterile. That said, I boil the jars in the canning pot, and the lids and screw caps in a small pan. (The lids are easier to reach in a smaller pan.) Boil for ten minutes; add an additional minute for each 1000 feet of elevation (for all you highlanders out there).
2. While you’re sterilizing the jars and lids, trim and cut your beans. If you have nice, straight beans, you can trim them to four or five inches long. Unfortunately, I seem to grow curved beans, which don’t fit as well in a mason jar. So, most of my beans were about two or three inches long. (Please note: Fresh beans are a must. Beans that have been around a few days get limp, and limp beans do not make a good recipe.)
3. Remove sterilized jars from canning pot with canning tongs, emptying the water back into the pot. (Be careful not to burn yourself with splashed boiling water!) Do not dry the jars. Leave the canning pot on the stove; you’ll bring it back to a boil when the jars are ready for the bath.
4. Into each empty jar, insert two cloves of diced garlic and two sprigs of fresh dill (each sprig will be about 2-3 inches long).
5. In a large sauce pan, combine cider vinegar, water, pickling salt (or kosher salt), bay leaves, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Be sure to boil until the salt is completely dissolved in the liquid! (Please note that kosher salt will take longer to dissolve than pickling salt.)
6. While the vinegar solution is coming to a boil, pack each jar with the beans, standing them upright in the jar and packing as tightly as you can. Halfway through, insert two or three more small sprigs of fresh dill in each jar. When the jar is full, top with another two or three sprigs of fresh dill. Be sure the beans do not reach past the screw lines on your mason jar. (Note: your beans will pack more neatly if they are longer.)
7. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce pan and discard. Using a canning funnel, ladle the vinegar solution into each jar. Leave a half-inch head room (the measurement from the top of the jar to the top of the liquid). A canning measuring stick is great for this.
8. Using a canning magnet, remove the sterilized lids from the pan and seal each jar. Be careful not to touch the underside of the lid (and possibly contaminate it). Using the magnet, remove the screw caps and twist on tightly.
9. Bring the water in the canning pot back to a boil. Insert jars into the water deeply enough that they are covered by at least an inch of water. Process (boil) for ten minutes.
10. Carefully remove the jars with canning tongs and stand upright on a heat-safe surface to cool. As the jars cool, you should hear a metallic popping sound. That means a good seal is forming. Once the jars are completely cool, several hours later, gently press the center of the lid with your finger. If the lid doesn’t move (has no give), there is a good seal. If it moves, bounces back, etc., then the jar didn’t seal correctly. Put that jar into the refrigerator and eat within the week.
11. Finally, label your jars! Yes, you can see what’s in them, but it’s important to label what it is AND the date you canned it. This way, you can eat the oldest jars first. I use the two-inch round lid labels that Avery makes; an online program on their site helps you create beautiful labels.
12. Store your jars in a cool, dark place. A pantry is great!
I’m quite pleased with the results of my first attempt at pickling beans. This recipe is quite tart and intensely dilly with a hint of spiciness from the pepper flakes, and the beans are fairly crisp – just the way I like it.
DISCLAIMER: If canned incorrectly, clostridium botulinum is a real and dangerous risk! Sanctuary Gardener is not responsible for how this recipe is used, the use of poor canning practices, or canning errors. Please visit the site for the National Center for Home Food Preservation for more information on canning and preserving.
Have you ever made pickled snap beans? Do you have a secret ingredient you’d like to divulge?