A comment about raising chickens made me yearn for the garden we used to have at our old house. We would typically have an abundant harvest of green and yellow beans in the fall, and I would prepare jars of Dilly Beans to hand out as Christmas gifts later in the year. Last year Spring just never happened. Well neither did Summer either, in my opinion. It didn’t get warm enough to plant a garden until July, and by then it was too late to start one. Now we are living in a rental, and the prospects of being able to tear up the landlord’s property for a garden are slim indeed. I’m thinking of looking into planting a garden in some portable planters and buckets, but that project is many months away as we woke up to snow this morning.
But that won’t stop me from posting my recipe for Dilly Beans! I make them good and spicy but you can temper the heat to suit your taste. They go great in a Bloody Mary, or just plain as an appetizer to bring to a potluck. In reality, you don’t need to have a garden to make these beans, as you can buy fresh green beans at the store and make them year round.
Spicy Dilly Beans
About 2 pounds fresh green or yellow beans, or a mix of them
2-3 cloves of garlic per, peeled
1-3 dried red chile peppers per jar
1 head of dill per jar, or you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon dill seed per jar
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed per jar
5 cups water
5 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup of pickling salt
Sterilize the jars for canning according to here: Sterilization of Empty Jars
Trim the green beans to fit 1/2 inch below the head of the jar. Drop the garlic cloves, peppers, dill and mustard seed in each jar, then pack the beans lengthwise over them. Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil then pour it over the beans, again leaving a 1/2-ich headspace. Process the jars in a boiling hot water bath for at least 10 minutes, and one minute longer for each additional 1,000 feet of altitude. Leave them in a cool, dark space for at least three weeks before eating or giving away.
I might have to make these again soon, as I think we ate the last jar at a friend’s party last year. I’m pretty sure she had stockpiled them.