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Pickle Me This: Garlic Dill Green Beans and Cocktail Onions-water bath ready

Dilly Beans were my gateway to pickling and preserving. Not having a strong food memory of pickled green beans, unlike Ba-Tampte cucumber pickles, or a jar of Bonne Mamam jam, I wouldn’t be held back by the fear of an outcome not meeting my taste buds’ expectations.

There also was the intimidation factor. I knew nothing about the process for pickling, canning or preserving, and for me they were all lumped together. A single childhood memory of “putting up” was a murky one in my mind which involved my mother, my grandmother, backyard crab apples and an exploding pressure canner.

My natural instinct in any new endeavor is to research and read until I am flooded with so much new information, I am stalled before I take action. Not this time, not for Dilly Beans, I read instructions for Hot Packing and Water Bathing and followed a simple recipe. I have graduated to preserves, my favorite tomato sauce, and chutney, and the simple process of pickling vegetables continues to bring me the same satisfaction as my very first time.

Pickled Carrots with rosemary and Strawberry Jam

Garlic Dill Green Beans

Ingredients for 6-7 pints

4 lb fresh green beans, washed, trimmed to fit length of canning jars-below the canning line-the lowest line on neck of jar

12-14 Habanero peppers-2 per jar (if you don’t want heat, use banana peppers or omit peppers altogether)

12-18 cloves garlic-2-3 per jar (slivered or whole, you choose)

1 bunch fresh dill, rinsed and dried-divide between jars

(Note: Other spices that play well with green beans: whole mustard seed, whole dill seed, whole peppercorn, red chili flakes, cumin seed, coriander seed)

2/3 cup kosher salt

5 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)

5 cups filtered water

1. Wash jars (pint or quart) with lids and all utensils in hot soapy water or run through dishwasher to clean. Air dry.

2. Prepare a pan of salted, boiling water and a bowl with ice and water.

3. Blanch and shock green beans: place in boiling salted water until color changes to vibrant green. Drain and transfer to ice water bath until cool. Drain.

4.  Prepare brine: in a medium non-reactive pan, combine distilled white vinegar, filtered water and kosher salt. Bring mixture to a boil, stir and continue to boil until salt dissolves.

5. Use a deep and wide stock pot (21 quart) with a rack placed on the bottom (or canner with rack) and fill with water to reach the canning line on jars (see tip below).

Tips: Test the height of the jars sitting on the rack in the pot and note the level. Add water to the pot around the jars. Heat water.

Keep clean jars and lids in the hot water until ready to fill.

In place of a canning rack, use a steamer rack, cake rack, or upside down ramekins on the bottom of the pot- jars can not sit directly on heat on bottom of pot.

6. Remove jars from hot water. Place dill, garlic, and peppers in jars. With jar turned on its side, pack beans around and beside other ingredients. Pack very tightly into jar.

7. Fill jars with brine using a ladle or a measuring cup with a spout. Fill only to canning line (about 1/2″ space between top of brine and lid of jar). Wipe jar rim with a clean paper towel. Place sterilized lid on jar and gently screw on band, just tightly enough to seal.

8. Lower jars into pot, use tongs with a silicone grip (Tip: place heat resistant rubber bands around metal tongs to get a better grip),  a canning jar lifter or a canning rack. Allow a 2″ space between sides of each jar. Bring water to just below a boil, not less than 185 F.  Process jars in water bath for 10 minutes.

9. Remove jars from the water bath. Tighten the lid.

10. Place upside down on a clean kitchen towel for 5-10 minutes. Flip jars right side up and cool for 24 hours.

11.Check vacumn seal on jar. Press down on lid, if sealed the lid should stay tight when pressed. If jar has not sealed, store in refrigerator and use within a week.

12. Label and date. Store in a cool dark place for 4 weeks. The longer stored , the stronger the flavor.

Refrigerate after opening.