Friday, August 3, 2012

Beans that are a good way.

It's hot here. The Northeast is humid and feels like a sweat lodge right now. Despite this, I was determined to make a batch of pickled spicy green beans...a.k.a. mean beans. I have accumulated a bunch of beans and need to pickle them up!

I don't can the pickles, because I find that doing the traditional water bath canning method affects the texture of the pickled items (either cukes or beans). Also, we eat these fast! Instead you can make "refrigerator" pickles After you jar them, you let them sit in the fridge for 3-4 days, and then crack them open. They stay good in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. And we eat them in about a week, so there is no need to worry. I"m sure you'll eat them just as quickly.

I got a mix of green beans and yellow wax beans. You can really use anything.

Wash and dry the beans. Then cut off the ends.  For jars, the store I went to only had 1/2 pint mason jars, so I used them. Because they are small I had to cut most beans in half. You can use any size jar for these.

I wash and dry the jars first. I don't know if this is necessary but I like to do it.

Then I make the "pickling liquid":

  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar (with 5% acidity)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup salt

*Mix in a pot and bring to a boil.

While that is boiling I put in my flavorings. I call these means beans because they are spicy. But you can do whatever flavor combos you want. I'm not a huge spicy fan, but these have a nice heat. If you like a bit of heat, but not burning, this amount should work for you.

In each jar I put...

  • 1/4- 1/2 tsp Cayenne
  • 1 tsp dried dill or 1 sprig fresh dill
  • 1 clove garlic

Then, I pack in the beans. You need to leave about 1/2 inch of headspace in the jar. The liquid should cover the beans and still leave that 1/2 inch of space in the jar. When liquid starts boiling, ladle it into jars. The liquid should cover the beans.

Then wipe the jars and edges, put on the lid, and screw on the jar band. Let them sit on your counter until they are at room temp, and then place them in the fridge.  After 3-4 days, crack them open!

AND when you are done with the beans, keep that brine. It is SO good for Bloody Mary's, dressings, and lots more!

We went through the last batch in 1 week, so I'm counting the hours until these will be good and ready to crunch into. Maybe some snazzy Bloody Mary's with the last batch's brine will be used this weekend.....

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