Monday, August 16, 2010

To Bean or Not to Bean

Dilly Beans Galore
Luckily I didn't have to ask myself that question when presented with Fable Farm's unbelievable bounty of green, wax, and purple runner beans last week - because I am a Dilly Bean addict! I discovered spicy dilly beans in Maine years ago, back when the only things the average American ever saw pickled were pickles. I was delighted by their crispness and ate a whole jar of them at one sitting. Well, today I've made my first batch of my own dilly beans and I hope they turn out well, since now I've got 10 jars!


6 cups water
1 cup pickling salt
6 cups distilled white vinegar
8 heads fresh dill weed
1/2 cup pickling spice
1/2 cup mustard seed
8 dried red chile peppers
16 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon alum
5 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed

1. Sterilize 8 (1 pint) jars in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
2. Combine the water, pickling salt and vinegar in a large pot, and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil, reduce heat to low, and keep at a simmer while you pack the jars.
3. In each jar place the following: 1 head of dill, 1 tablespoon of pickling spice, 1 tablespoon of mustard seed, 1 dried chile pepper, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1/8 teaspoon of alum. Pack beans into the spiced jars in a standing position.
4. Ladle the hot brine into jars, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Screw the lids onto the jars, and process in a hot water bath for 6 minutes to seal. Store for at least 2 weeks before eating.

After the dilly beans, I processed the rest of the herbs and produce picked Thursday, then had a lunch of avocado and olive oil on toasted whole grain bread, with a side of sauteed squash blossoms. Yum!

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