Tuesday, August 02, 2016
I'm not a big fan of dill, with one exception. I really love dill pickles. Recently I bought a book on pickling foods and decided to try the Dilly Beans since I have enough string beans to do some canning. I hope that I enjoy them as much as regular dill pickles.I planted regular green, yellow and purple beans this year and planted two plantings about 10 days apart. They have done well, especially the purple ones, and we have enjoyed them steamed and in salads. The pickles will be my way of taking care of the full flush of production. They are starting to reduce the number of beans produced, so this is the optimal time.
I also planted cucumbers but so far the production is one here and then another one a few days later, etc. so it is unlikely that there will be enough to pickle them. If that changes, I'll let you know.
The pickled beans are fairly easy to make, but canning is one of those activities where keeping everything clean is essential. I washed the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinsed them, then put them into boiling water, too, before filling the jars with the trimmed beans, dill, garlic cloves, whole peppercorns and whole mustard seeds. The vinegar solution was boiling so I used a metal cup measure to fill the jars with that mixture, then dipped the lids in the boiling water before putting them on top of the jars. Then they went into a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Here I'm using a canning tongs tool to take them out of the hot water so that they can cool. As the jars cool, the lids become concave...that lets you know that they have sealed properly.
I wasn't really surprised that the vivid green and purple and light yellow of the beans (photo at top of post) turned to a muted green when the jars had finished processing in the water bath. That usually happens when I cook them, too. There is still a difference of light and dark, but not the great colors.
Here's hoping that they will be yummy when I finally crack open a jar to sample these dilly beans!
For those of you who keep up with what Sweetie is doing, here is a photo taken today at the Registrar of Voters office. He is filing for another term (his 5th!) on the fire board. Here his is swearing to uphold the Constitution. Very proud of him and his service to the community.
from Tart and Sweet by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler
4 cups white vinegar
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 cups water
3 tablespoons kosher salt
4 pounds green beans, trimmed to fit into jars
3 dill sprigs or 1 dill head
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
(recipe also called for 1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seeds, but I left them out)
Bring the vinegars, water and salt to a boil in a medium nonreactive pot. Stir to dissolve the salt.
Place dill, garlic, mustard seeds, and peppercorns in each hot jar. (I dipped each clean jar into the boiling water & then drained it right before filling it.) Pack the beans in tightly. Make sure there is a half inch headroom and trim the beans so that they will be covered with the brining solution.
Pour boiling brine over the beans. Check for air bubbles, wipe the rims, and seal with the screw bands.
Lower carefully into the super large pot of boiling water which covers the jars completely. There should be enough room around the jars to easily lift them in and out of the water. Process for 10 minutes. Water should be at a full boil when you start timing.
After the 10 minutes are up, turn off the heat and let the water stop bubbling before removing the jars. Place the jars on a cooling rack or a heat-absorbent surface, such as a towel or cutting board, allowing space around them. Leave them undisturbed until they;re cool to the touch.
After the jars have cooled completely (up to 8 hours or so), eyeball the lids. If the lid is concave (curved downward) the jar has sealed. TO check, press your finger into the center of the lid. If there's no give ( lid doesn't pop up upon release of your finger) it's airtight and ready to be labeled and stored. Stash in a cool, dark place.
Yield: 4 pints