Hot or Not? Dilly Pickled Beans

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By Corinne

Do you love pickles? If you’ve made your own homemade pickles you know that picking and cleaning cucumbers is a whole lot of work! I have discovered that I like pickled green beans ALMOST as much as I like pickles and they are FAR less work to prepare. If you haven’t made pickles, these dilly beans are a great introduction to pickling.¬†I generally eat them randomly upon opening the fridge but they are delicious in a Caesar or Bloody Mary or as a little side for a sandwich.

I use the same brine and ingredients for my dill pickles. I personally don’t care for hot dill pickles, but I do like the hot dilly beans! They are good either way, so try a few jars of each ūüôā

Some notes – yes you can pickle yellow beans too – I find they are a bit more tender than the green ones. You can mix them in the jars, I sometimes do half and half. If you happen to find some of those beautiful purple beans, they can be safely pickled, but they don’t end up pretty. I did it once and wouldn’t do it again, so save those ones for salads.

If you haven’t done hot water bath canning before, I’m going to send you to Food In Jars for some Canning 101. Marisa McClellan has a wonderful website and 3 amazing canning books, 2 of which I own. I love, love, love making small batches of jams and find her recipes easy to follow and inspiring.

Makes: I picked about 6 pounds of beans and made 8 pint size(5ooml) jars.  I recommend using pint size jars rather than larger jars as you have a shorter processing time, so your beans stay crisper.  You can of course make as many or few jars as you like, this is a very flexible process!

The best brine

Basic recipe 

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of pickling (coarse) salt

This is easily doubled, tripled etc. To save you some math, I’ve included other amounts at the bottom of the page if you’re going crazy ūüôā

Today I used:

  • 12 cups water
  • 12 cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup pickling (coarse) salt

To each jar add:

  • heaping 1/4 tsp of black peppercorns
  • level tsp of mustard seed (I use a mix of yellow and brown)
  • 1 large dill flower/seed head
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 red thai chili pepper if desired

Prepare your hot water bath canner and jars. Ensure that jars actively boil for a minimum of 10 minutes. If the lids require a warm bath (read the package they came in, some brands no longer require this step) you can get this ready now too. Note that while jars and rings are both reusable, the lids are not.

Prepare your brine. Add vinegar, water and salt to pot and bring to a simmer, barely boiling. I’ve never had any issues with salt dissolving, but give it a few stirs just to ensure it does, and keep a lid on this pot to reduce evaporation.

Wash beans and snip off stem end and the little pointy end too if you wish. I leave it on because I like the way it looks, but either way is fine. Grab an extra empty jar for reference and make sure your beans will fit. Give them a trim if they are too long. Put your beans into a large bowl or platter all facing the same direction, this will make it easy to put them into the jars in a quick and tidy manner.

Give your dill flowers/seed heads a quick rinse and a pat dry.

Remove the skins from the cloves of garlic. I like to have all of my other add ins, mustard seeds, peppercorns etc in little prep bowls so they are ready to go when I take out my jars.

I place a dish towel on my counter as I always end up spilling some of the brine as I pour it into the jars. Not that it’s terribly difficult to do without spilling, but if you do slop some, the towel will keep it from running off of your counter. I also like to wear those disposable vinyl gloves as I find they give a little extra protection from the heat of the jars without being bulky.

Are you ready? Take the jars out of the hot water bath. You don’t need to worry about drying them, the water will evaporate off quickly as they are so hot. Measure out mustard seed, peppercorns, garlic, and finally dill into each of the jars. If you are using hot peppers, put them in now too. I generally do this assembly line style, all of the pepper into each jar, then all of the mustard etc. I find it helps me make sure I get all ingredients into all the jars.

Grab a large handful of beans, as many as you can easily get in. Fill all jars, then go back and stuff in as many beans around the edges as you can. You want the jars to be packed tight.

Now you are ready to pour in the brine. I use a 2 cup measuring cup to pour in the hot brine. You want to leave about 1/2″ – 1/4″ of head space in the jar. Place lids on jars, then fasten rings. You do not need to wrench them as tight as you can, they just need to be ‘fingertip tight’.

Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool completely before handling. I usually leave them until the following morning. Remove rings, check for seal , and wipe the ring and the jar clean. They may have some salty residue from your brine. It is important to wipe them, and then let them dry completely, as otherwise you may end up with your rings rusting to the jars.

Let the beans cure for at least 1 month before eating, but really they only get better if you wait a bit longer. I usually make them the end of August or beginning of September, and generally tell people to wait until Halloween to break into them.

I pour any leftover hot brine on the weeds in the cracks in my driveway. Does a good job of getting rid of them. Because of the salt in the brine, make sure you don’t water any grass with it or pour it anywhere you might like to grow something!

To save you some math for when you are making a lot of brine, here are some larger amounts.

  • 16 cup water
  • 16 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup pickling (coarse) salt
  • 20 cup water
  • 20 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup pickling (coarse) salt

This last one happens to be the amount that exactly fills my stock pot, and is what I prepare when I’m making a lot of pickles.

  • 22 cup water
  • 22 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp pickling (coarse) salt

Easy Strawberry Jam

By:  Julie

Time:  about 2 hours, depending on tools you use and how fast you chop.

They’re here, they’re here!! ¬†It’s strawberry time in Southern Ontario. ¬†They are a little pricey this year, I paid $22 for a flat, but they are soooo sweet and delicious. ¬†So sweet, in fact, that my jam is probably the sweetest jam I’ve ever made. ¬†If you are looking for a jam with less sugar, don’t make this. ¬†The ratios of fruit to sugar to lemon juice allows the jam to set and protects you from bacteria. ¬†You should always follow safe canning practices. ¬†If you are not into canning, you can still make this and keep it in the fridge for a month.

You Will Need

  • 4 cups of strawberries, chopped small, my manual food processor worked great for this
  • 4 cups of white sugar
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice. ¬†Don’t use real lemon juice, use bottled for canning unless otherwise specified in your recipe. ¬†The acid content is constant, which may not always be the case for real lemons. ¬†It could vary which may allow the acidity of your jam to be too low, encouraging bacteria growth.

Tools Needed

  • 5 half pint jars, or whatever you prefer to use
  • large pot to boil jars
  • large non-reactive pot to boil jam
  • jar tongs will make your life easier
  • wide mouth funnel
  • small ladle

Prepare The Jars

Boil jars, including lids, you are going to use for at least 10 min before starting.  Combine the strawberries and the sugar in a non-reactive pot and allow to sit for an hour.  Add lemon juice and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Allow to boil for 12-14 minutes.  I begin testing the set at 8 minutes by putting a small amount on a cold plate I keep in the freezer.  I let it stay in there for 2 min and if the jam wrinkles when I push it with my finger, the jam is set.  Experienced jammers will feel the difference when they stir.  You will feel some slight resistance and the jam becomes clearer and darkens to a beautiful ruby red.

When you are confident with your set, scoop off any foam from the top, ladle the jam into the clean jars and place the lids on.  Screw on the rings lightly (just hand tight until you feel resistance then stop.  You need the air to be able to escape from the lids).  Place jars in canner and boil for a min of 10 minutes.

My favourite way to eat this is on toasted basic white bread.

Pineapple Marmalade

By: Julie

Serves: Makes 6-250ml jars

I picked up the Canning Kitchen by accident. ¬†I certainly didn’t push the cart by it seven times and then sneak it under the baby pajamas and deliberately avoid looking at it as the cashier scanned it at the checkout. ¬†Nor did I say the words, “oh this old thing? ¬†I’ve had it forever!” ¬†I most definitely¬†didn’t buy another cookbook to add to the growing collection overflowing out of our tiny house on the prairie. ¬†Not me.

But you should. ¬†Because it’s really delicious and inspiring. ¬†They are all small batch, which I love, and the book is quite instructive for new Jammers like me. ¬†Yes, I just referred to myself as a Jammer. ¬†You can be a Jammer too. ¬†It’s an elite and selective club but we can make room for you. ¬†If you bring some pie. ¬†And maybe some chocolate.

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You Will Need

  • 2 1/2 lbs naval oranges
  • 2 1/2 cups finely diced fresh pineapple
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups granulated sugar

Read the steps in Amy’s own words here:

The Canning Kitchen: Orange Pineapple Marmalade

Mine didn’t quite set all the way, but I was a tad impatient and should have boiled it a bit longer. ¬†Don’t forget to do a set test. ¬†That being said, it’s lovely and I put it on everything. ¬†We had it on chicken the other day and I’ve just taken a batch of Magic Muffins out of the oven that feature this. ¬†Definitely worth making.