So long as you don't object to your house smelling like vinegar for a few hours, an afternoon spent putting up beans or other fresh vegetables can happily yield a bounty that will last well into the winter. The biggest challenge may be waiting the two weeks for the beans to pickle before eating them.
This recipe is by Gene Fisher of Baltimore, Maryland, and was originally published in The Baltimore Sun.
Allow 2 to 3 weeks for the beans to pickle.
Canning is really not all that difficult and one doesn't need an expensive canner to pickle or put up jams and jellies. A large soup pot will work just fine, so long as it is deep enough to allow the water to cover the jars with about 1 inch of water to spare. It is important to have a rack that fits inside the pot for the jars to sit on so that the boiling water can circulate under each jar, allowing for more uniform heating.
- 3 Pounds fresh snap green beans, washed
- 3 Cups distilled white vinegar
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 Cup canning salt
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into 7 pieces or 7 small, whole peeled cloves
- 1 bunch of fresh dill
- 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Equipment needed: 7 (1-pint) Mason jars
Step 1: Snap 3 pounds green beans to lengths that fit your jars, leaving about 1 inch of space between the beans and the lids.
Step 2: Sterilize the jars, lids and bands in very hot water, leaving them in the water until ready to pack.
Step 3: In a saucepan, add 3 cups distilled white vinegar, 2 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup canning salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.
Step 4: Remove the jars from the hot water and in the bottom of each jar drop a slice of garlic, a sprig of dill and a dash of red pepper flakes, if using.
Step 5: Pack the green beans tightly into the jars. Take your time and pack them as full as possible. They will shrink some as they pickle.
Step 6: Ladle the hot pickling liquid into the jars, leaving 1 inch of space at the top of the jar. After filling, take care to wipe the rims of the jars completely clean, as any foreign matter will cause the jars not to seal properly.
Step 7: Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on finger-tight.
Step 8: Place the jars on the canning rack in the boiler. Fill boiler with hot water, making sure the jars are completely covered so the water reaches 1-inch higher than the jars. Bring to a boil and hold at the boil for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel to cool. Take care to keep them out of any draft or breeze, as this could cause the jars to crack.
Step 9: Store jars at room temperature for 2 to 3 weeks to allow the beans to pickle.