Pickled Green (& Yellow) Beans
Summer is pretty much over now but I’m still hoping to hold on to it for a little while longer with some end of summer pickles. I found this simple recipe for pickled green beans (or “dilly beans” as they are known in the States) on the kitchen.com website. I like them just a few days after I’ve pickled them because they’re still super crunchy. They taste lovely and fresh for weeks after you’ve pickled them. You can use this brine for pickling other vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, fennel or cucumbers.
The recipe is for refrigerator pickles, which will keep for a couple of months in your refrigerator, but if you want to extend their shelf life, you can go through an extra canning process to stabilise and preserve them for about six months (see notes at the end of the recipe).
1 pound green, yellow, or purple string beans
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 fresh dill sprigs
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons pickling salt
Prepare the jars: wash the jars, lids, and rings in warm, soapy water and rinse well. Set aside to dry or dry completely by hand.
Prepare the beans: rinse the beans under cool running water and drain well. Trim the stem ends from the beans and halve them if using 2 pint-sized jars. Leave them whole if using a quart jar.
Add the spices to the jars: place the garlic, red pepper flakes, and mustard seeds in the jar(s).
Pack the green beans into the jars: place the jar on its side. Place the sprigs of dill down first, then stack the beans in the jar, orienting them so that they will stand up straight when the jar stands upright. Pack the jar as tightly as possible. A full pound will fit in one quart jar, or you can divide the beans into 2 pint jars.
Make the pickling brine: combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Pour the brine over the green beans, filling each jar to within 1/2 inch of the top. You might not use all the brine.
Remove the air bubbles: gently tap the jars against the counter a few times to remove all the air bubbles. Top off with more pickling brine if needed. Place the lids over the jars and screw on the rings until tight.
Cool and refrigerate: let the jars cool to room temperature. Store the pickles in the refrigerator. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age — try to wait at least 48 hours before cracking them open.
STORAGE: These pickles can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. If you process and “can” the jars, they can be stored at room temperature unopened for up to six months (see below).
Steps for the final canning process (using Ball or Mason Jars):
After filling your jars, apply the lids and screw bands on the jars to hold the lids down during processing. Tighten the bands with your fingertips to ensure that they are not overly tight.
Carefully lower the filled jars into a pot filled with gently boiling water. Once the pot has returned to a rolling boil, start your timer. These beans should be processed (boiled) for 5 minutes.
When the timer goes off, remove the jars immediately from the pot and place them gently on a towel-lined countertop and let them cool.
The jar lids should “ping” soon after coming out of the pot. The “pinging” is the sound of the seal forming. The center of the lids will become concave as the vacuum seal takes hold.
After the jars have cooled for 24 hours, remove the bands and check the seals by grasping the jar by the edges of the lid and gently lifting it an inch or two off the countertop. The lids should hold fast. Once you’ve determined that the seals are good, you can store the jars in a cool, dark place for up to six months. If you have a jar with a bad seal, you can still eat the contents but just treat them as if they are refrigerator pickles.