Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dilly Beans

If you have been reading my blog you might have noticed that I have talked a bit about an overflow of beans.  I planted them here and I planted them there
My mother and grandmother preserved all their garden bounty and to my outrage...THEY MADE US HELP THEM.  Oh how I wish I had paid more attention to what they were doing, as I sat begrudgingly with my sisters around those two kitchen tables peeling and chopping.  We ate bottled or canned fruit throughout my childhood. My grandfather worked for Del Monte canning company and their case goods were ever present (employee discount) in our home and in theirs; hence, my dislike for canned or bottled vegetables unless used in a recipe.  But one's freezer can only hold so much, so I went looking for a recipe to "pickle" my bounty of beans.  The most intriguing one I found was on Marisa's site, Food in Jars.  She added a generous amount of cayenne pepper to her jars.  I have slightly adapted Marisa's recipe which she had already slightly adapted from another. I ended up having enough beans to do two batches. The most important modification that I made to her recipe was:

  • increased the amount of processing time according to my altitude.
  • used dill weed instead of seeds.  
  • decreased the amount of the cayenne pepper in some of the jars.  I tried several different amounts to see how much "heat" my family likes in the beans.

Was I pleased with the results?  Emphatically YES!  I carelessly put a double scoop of cayenne into a jar in my first batch (it was 11:00 at night...in my defense).  I noticed this as I was taking the jar out of the canner and saw the "pile" of pepper in the bottom.  As I had another batch in the works, I opened the jar, rinsed the beans, put more pickling solution in and re-processed that jar with the next batch; after tasting a bean of course.  Boy, am I glad that I re-processed!  After that short time in the jar, those beans were absolutely wonderful but they were HOT.  I did share a bean or two with B. and he loved them so much that he keeps

asking if he can open a jar.  It's hard to wait the recommended two weeks before eating these Dilly Beans.  I'm taking a jar as a hostess gift this weekend.  We'll see if we manage to save a few and not eat the whole kit and kaboodle before Christmas.

*Read this recipe carefully before starting. The amounts are for the entire recipe and will be divided among the jars.

Dilly Beans
 (adapted from Food In Jars)
2 lbs. of green beans trimmed to fit your jars
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons of dill seed (I used dill weed)
4 cloves of garlic, left whole
2 1/2 cups of white vinegar (5%)
2 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup pickling salt (use a bit more if you've only got kosher salt)

Prep your canning pot by inserting the rack (I actually start heating the water because it takes a long time to heat).   Have your pint jars washed and sterilized (I use my dishwasher on sterilize setting for a lot of jars and my microwave for 2 minutes if I just need a few jars).
Wash and trim your beans so that they fit in the jars and set them aside.  Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring them to a boil.  While the vinegar mixture is heating, pack your beans into pint jars (wide mouth are easiest), leaving 1/2 inch head space.  To each jar, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 clove of garlic and 1 teaspoon of dill weed.

Pour the brine over the beans, leaving 1/2 inch of head space.  Remove the bubbles from the jars by inserting a plastic or wooden knife or skewer around the interior sides of the jar.  Wipe the rims with a clean warm cloth and apply the lids and rings.

Process pints for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath (don't start timing until the water has come to a full rolling boil).

**If you live at an altitude above 1,000 ft. above sea level you must add extra processing time for safety reasons.  See this link for adjusting the processing time.

  • Let these beans sit in the jar at least two weeks for best flavor. 
  • Your beans may look shriveled after the water bath.  They will plump as they sit in the brine.

This post is linked to Fresh Fridays over at La Bella Vita.  Check out what the other bloggers have posted today.


  1. Bonnie -- wish I had an abundance of beans. I have never had dilly beans. Like you, my mom bottled a lot of things, especially tomatoes -- hated the acid on my arms, but loved how everything is so pretty in jars or cans as some say! Your beans look so good -- great photography too! Joni

  2. When my daughters were younger, I also made them help me with canning. Our very first recipe was dilly beans!! I have a picture of them holding the beans, looking so proud of themselves!

  3. Wow, you have your own little farmer's market there:) You sure are reaping the benefits of all your hard work!

  4. I am hoping to find some beans at the farmers market. I want to make mustard beans! These look great, too.

  5. Your dilly beans look and sound wonderful. I am interesting in the cayenne pepper that you've added- they must taste fabulous. I'm always so impressed with all you get done in a day!

  6. I recently discovered Food in Jars, and I've been a little obsessed! I'm totally intrigued by her recipes using the slow cooker.

  7. I always motivated by you, your opinion and attitude, again, thanks for this nice post.

    - Thomas