If you’re looking for an alternative way to store your green bean harvest this year, dilly beans are a great option. Not only are they a delicious snack or garnish for your Bloody Mary, but they make for a well-received (and often requested) gift for your friends and family over the holiday season. Dilly beans take a few weeks to develop their flavor, so if you get started now, they’ll be ready just in time for Christmas.
You may double or halve the recipe depending on your needs, but make sure that your vinegar, salt, and water ratios remain in proportion with one another to ensure that you are within safe pH levels. And, as always, be sure to use vinegar with at least 5% acidity when pickling. As for the spices, if there are ingredients in the recipe that you don’t like – garlic, cloves, or red pepper flakes for instance – feel free to leave them out.
2 cups water
2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
1/4 cup canning or pickling salt
2 lbs fresh green beans
About 8 fresh heads of dill
1 large diced onion
1 head of garlic
Pepper flakes (optional if you want spicy dilly beans)
Dried red chilies (optional if you want spicy dilly beans)
1. Rinse the beans and trim the ends. Cut the beans to 4 or 5 inches in length, depending on the height of your jars.
2. Prepare 4 or 5 wide-mouth pint jars by washing with hot, soapy water to remove any residue, and then sterilize in boiling water for ten minutes. Remove sterilized jars with tongs and place on a rack.
3. Place 2 heads of fresh dill, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons diced onion, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, 5 whole peppercorns, 1 teaspoons celery seed, and a pinch of pepper flakes into the bottom of each pint jar. Pack the green beans vertically on top of the spices, squeezing in as many as you can without going over the rim of the jar. Add a dried red chili or two if desired. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Trim down any of the beans that are too tall for the jar.
4. To make the brine, bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Pour the hot brine over the beans using a jar funnel, maintaining the 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe off the rims of the jars, and cover with sterilized lids. Screw on bands and tighten securely.
5. Submerge jars in a boiling water bath. Once the water begins to boil again, set your timer for fifteen minutes. Remove jars carefully and set on a rack to cool for 24 hours. Once cool, test your seals, and store without bands in a cool, dark place. Allow at least four weeks for the flavor to develop. Refrigerate after opening.
If you have any questions regarding home canning, please visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Once your dilly beans are ready, screw on a band and cover with 7″ round thrifted fabric scraps or doilies. Secure with twine, adding your favorite tag and label from MOL. I chose the Cornucopia food/craft labels and tags for my jars.