This year, we have so many green beans (and purple, and yellow) that it’s a little hard to keep up. Between a 4′ x 4′ plot of bush beans and a couple trellises of climbing beans, I’m lugging a big basket of pods into the house every morning.
And when I find myself staring at a pile of fresh beans that I don’t feel like blanching and sealing for the freezer, I turn to the easiest possible method of preserving them, quick pickled green beans:
Note that these pickled green beans are not the standard hot-processed “Dilly Beans,” which I’ve tried to embrace on many occasions but always found limp and aggressively vinegary. These beans are another story altogether. I included instructions for hot-processing these as well, if you feel you must, but I almost never bother canning my beans.
Quick pickles are great for two reasons: First, they aren’t all limp like their boiled counterparts. And more importantly, they couldn’t be easier. Just cram your vegetables and some spices into a jar, add vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio, and pop it in the fridge. They don’t keep for years like hot-processed pickles, but once you taste them they won’t be sticking around longer than a month anyway.
Delicious, crunchy, and perfect alongside a Bloody Mary (or a sandwich).
- 3 pounds green beans, stems intact, washed and dried
- 9 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
- 3 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
- 6 tablespoons dill seeds
- 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 9 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 cups white distilled vinegar
- a handful of washed fresh grape leaves (optional)
- Pack green beans evenly into quart-sized jars, along with garlic, salt, spices, and grape leaves if using.
- Fill jars halfway with white vinegar, then top off with cool filtered water.
- Put lids on jars and flip upside down for a few minutes to distribute the spices.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 days to develop flavors. Pickles will be at their prime in 2 weeks, and will last up to a month.
- Heat vinegar, water, and salt to a boil first, and pour over beans and spices in sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, adding time for altitude (I process for 15 minutes here at 6,000 feet).
Adapted from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon.