Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spicy Dilly Beans

This is one of the first preserves of mine that I've tasted so far this season (other than jams) and I'm in pickle heaven! I've never eaten pickled green beans before let alone made them, so this was all very new to me. However I do really love pickles in general and could never say no to a green bean put in front of me so it really just made sense.
They're crispy, salty, sour (everything that makes a perfect pickle) plus they're really spicy, which just takes them to the next level of snacking.
Adapted from "Canning for a New Generation" by Lianna Krissoff

Makes about 5 pint jars* 

4 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)**
3 tablespoons pure kosher salt
5 sprigs of fresh dill
5 cloves of garlic
5 to 10 dried hot red chiles
5 teaspoons (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds crisp green beans, ends trimmed 

Wash jars and keep them hot in the canning pot. Put the lids in a heatproof bowl nearby. 

In a large preserving pot combine the vinegar, 4 cups water, and the salt. Bring to just a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt. 
Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl containing the lids. Remove jars from pot (pouring water back into pot) and place nearby on a kitchen towel. Drain water off lids. 

Quickly put a sprig of dill, clove of garlic, dried chile and red pepper flakes in each hot jar. Pack the beans in the jars upright. Ladle hot brine into the jars leaving 1/2" headspace. Use a chopstick to remove air bubbles. Wipe rims clean with damp paper towel, place lid on top and screw on ring just finger tight. Return jars to canning pot and make sure water covers jars by 1". Bring water to simmer and simmer for 10 minutes to process. Remove jars, place on kitchen towel and don't disturb for 12 hours. If after one hour any lids have not sealed (if it can be pushed down, it's not sealed) refrigerate immediately. Store the sealed jars in a cool dark place.

*I've found with some of the recipes from this book that the word "about" should really be emphasized. Sometimes I'll end up with more jam than jars, or more jars and veggies than pickle brine. It's mildly frustrating but I've been dealing with it by preparing more jars than what is specified (or keeping more ingredients close at hand).

**Krissoff really discourages replacing one vinegar for another in her recipes because not all vinegars have the same level of acidity (which will affect the outcome of the preserve). However she always specifies the acidity percentage, so I just make sure I have the same percentage. For this recipe I used white distilled vinegar instead of cider vinegar.

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