Last summer I went to a party that had a delicious buffett. I fell in love with a little tray of home-canned dilly beans, pickled with a very spicy vinegar. I asked Jan, the hostess, for the recipe but never followed up on it. A couple of weeks ago I ran into Jan and she emailed the recipe right away.
Recipe in hand, I went to the farmer’s market and grocery store, got all my provisions and laid them out. The recipe called for heads of dill, but I couldn’t find this anywhere. I bought dill weed, hoping the substitution wouldn’t ruin the recipe.
I emailed Jan asking what she thought about the substitution and she said to come to her house and pick all the heads of dill I needed. Further, she said that dill weed and dill seed were not nearly as good. I went to her house and we picked heads of dill along with tomatoes, basil, broccoli, tarragon and cilantro. She offered many canning tips and I set off with those heads of dill ready to try pickling for the first time.
Back at home, I put on my apron and started all the boiling and measuring. I sort of expected it to be a fiasco of boiling vinegar and hot water, but it went as smooth as butter. I put my treasures on the counter to cool and all the jars sealed within a few hours.
Now we’re in the waiting phase. They’re supposed to sit for two weeks, so I can only look at them with all their spicy goodness. I’ll get back to you on how they turned out. Here is the recipe:
(also known as pickled beans)
For 7 pints:
Wash 4 pounds fresh green beans; remove stems and tips.
Cut into pint jar lengths, or may cut smaller if desired.
Wash 7 pint jars in very hot water, or sterilize in dishwasher.
Have 7 jar lids and rings ready in scalding water.
In bottom of each jar, place: 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 peeled garlic clove
1 lg or 2 small heads of dill
Pack beans upright in jars, leaving 1 inch headroom.
Heat together: 5 cups water
5 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup pickling (non-iodized) salt
When mixture boils, pour over beans into each jar, to within 1/2 inch of jar top.
Run a table knife down and around inside each jar to remove air bubbles.
Wipe off jar rims. Top with canning lids and rings. Place in canner that has boiling water in it.
Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes after water returns to a boil.
Remove from canner and cool on counter – avoid fan or direct cool air on hot jars.
Best if allowed to sit at least 2 weeks before eating.
Should any jar not seal (unlikely, but does happen occasionally), simply refrigerate and eat.