Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dilly Beans - Part 1

This time of year I have green beans running out of my ears.  We eat them fresh from the garden,  I can them and I also freeze some but I also make a delicious treat.....dilly beans.  Dilly beans are just green beans that have been pickled like cucumbers.  My boys love dilly beans!

Here's a picture tutorial on how to make dilly beans so you can enjoy them too!

What you'll need:
Water bath canner with canning rack
Wide Mouth Pint Jars, rings and seals
Jar lifter, seal lifter, plastic "spatula"
Stainless steel canning funnel
2 1/2 cups Vinegar 5% acidity - I like apple cider vinegar for canning
2 1/2 cups distilled or spring water
1 tsp. cayenne powder divided into fourths
1/4 cup Canning Salt
White vinegar - just a splash
2 lbs. Green beans
4 heads dill
Hot peppers (optional)
4 garlic cloves

Gather everything listed above.  Inspect your jars for any nicks or cracks that would prevent sealing. Use new seals - take a quick look to make sure the sealing compound is intact and even.  Once in awhile I will get a box with missing compound or "lumpy" compound.

Wash your jars, rings and seals in hot soapy water. Rinse well.  Dry your bands and set them aside. When I am in a hurry, I leave them in the pot with the seals and take them out just before using. Place your jars and seals in simmering hot water (180°). Do not boil your seals!!  If your dishwasher has a sani-rinse cycle, you can also run your jars through that to get and keep them hot. Some dishwasher manufacturers realize that women still preserve food and that women usually pick out the dishwasher!  I'm fortunate to have a dishwasher with this cycle and I love it.

Fill your canner half full with hot water.  Hang your canning rack over the rim and put the lid on the canner.  Heat water until it is simmering (180°).  Keep it at this temperature until you are finished filling your jars.

Peel and chop your garlic cloves. To be truthful - I use much more garlic and cayenne than this recipe calls for....we like it spicy! Prepare your peppers, remove stems if using fresh.

Wash your green beans.

Trim the ends off of your green beans.

Combine the salt, vinegar, and water in a large pot and bring to a boil.  I throw a bit of garlic and cayenne into this mix as well but it isn't necessary.

Pack your beans, standing on end, into your hot jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space.  For first time canners, this means that there is at least 1/4 inch between the top of your beans and the rim of the jar. This is a bit time consuming but I promise you that it's worth it!
Pack them tightly so that they hold each other up but not so tightly that you won't be able to pull one out of the jar in a couple of months and take a bite of a delicious dilly bean!

Your mouth will thank you.  Trust me.

Add 1 head dill, 1 clove garlic and 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper to each jar.  Since we like it spicy we at least double these amounts. I tuck the dill down alongside the beans and lay the rest on top. I use a dried or fresh pepper too!  I prefer cayenne but you could use your favorite hot pepper.

Now you are ready to ladle the hot liquid over the beans, seal and process...stay tuned for Part 2!


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