I had no idea what a dilly bean was until I moved to Vermont. Turns out they’re just green beans pickled using the same herbs and spices you’d use to make a dill pickle, only they come out a bit more crisp than cukes. And if you tell people about dilly beans without enunciating, they’ll think you’re saying “jelly beans.” Which are not as addictive.
When I teach intro to canning classes, I use this recipe because it’s the easiest one I’ve ever done – put some beans in a jar, dump in some garlic and spices, pour a mix of hot water and vinegar in, and process. Then you’ve got jars of the best bloody Mary garnishes you’ve ever had, and a whole new set of best friend when you take a jar to parties.
4 pounds whole green beans* (about 4 quarts)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper per pint jar
1 teaspoon whole mustard seed per pint jar
1 teaspoon dill seed per pint jar (or 2 fresh sprigs)
1 garlic clove per pint jar
5 cups vinegar (1 ¼ quarts)
5 cups water
½ cup salt
1. Wash beans thoroughly; drain and cut into lengths to fill pint jars. Pack beans into clean, hot jars; add pepper, mustard seed, dill seed, and garlic.
2. Combine vinegar, water, and salt; heat to boiling. Pour boiling liquid over the beans, filling jars but leaving ¼ inch headspace. Seal and process in a boiling bath for 5 minutes.
YEILD: 7 pints
* This recipe is great for a lot of different veggies. I’ve had great luck with asparagus, carrots (peeled and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch matchsticks), and garlic scapes (omit the garlic if you use those). It would probably be excellent with pearl onions (peeled) or sugarsnap peas, too. Since you’re adding the spices to each individual jar and then pouring the brine over top, you can play with the red pepper heat on some jars. You could even mix and match veggie types within the same canning batch – or within the same jar – if you don’t have enough of the same type of veggie to fill seven jars.