What satisfaction you’ll get from putting up these tangy, dilly green beans. They don’t call for immersion in a boiling-water bath, so they’re much simpler to make than many other preserving recipes. The crisp, piquant green beans are superlative when served with smoked ham.“
This recipe came from Mrs. Bauchum, who was like a second grandmother to me when I was growing up,” remembers Hiram Bonner. “She was an elderly lady who lived alone in our neighborhood, and I spent nights at her house so that she would feel more secure. She gave me a lot of emotional support and guidance. I remember her once telling me that I should always do what makes me happy, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. That’s why I opted for the culinary field. We had her pickled green beans recipe on Thanksgivings, served at room temperature, with the roast turkey and the ham.”
Yield: Makes 2 quarts
2 (1-quart) canning jars with brand-new lids and rings (see “Notes on Canning and Preserving,” below)
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
4 large sprigs fresh dill
1 teaspoon celery seeds
4 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
2 whole small dried chile peppers
¼ teaspoon peppercorns
4 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
6 tablespoons pickling salt (see “Notes on Canning and Preserving,” below)
1. Lay a hot sterilized canning jar on its side, and slip in half of the green beans. Stand the jar up, and add 2 dill sprigs, ½ teaspoon celery seeds, 2 garlic cloves, 1 dried chile pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon peppercorns. Repeat with the other jar.
2. Bring the vinegar, water, and pickling salt to a full rolling boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Pour the hot liquid into the two jars, dividing it evenly. Wipe away any spills from the jars’ lips. Screw on the lids and rings, and let them cool completely at room temperature. Let the pickled green beans stand for at least 4 weeks before serving.
• Always use brand-new lids and rings. If you are reusing the jars, make sure they are free of nicks and cracks. After filling a jar, wipe away any spilled canning liquid from the jar’s lip with a clean, hot, moist kitchen towel before sealing.
• To sterilize the jars, rings, and lids, boil them in water to cover for at least to minutes, and remove from the water with kitchen tongs. Or wash in a dishwasher and use as soon as the drying cycle has ended. Always put up your pickles in hot jars.
• When filling up the jars with cooking liquid, leave a ¼-inch headspace between the level of the liquid and the top of the jar.
• Cool the pickles at room temperature; the long cooling period will seal the lids properly.
• None of the canning recipes in this book use the “hot water bath” method of preserving. These recipes include enough salt or sugar for preserving without the tedium and mess of the hot water bath. While the hot water method decreases the chance of bacterial growth, it also alters the color and texture of the fruits and vegetables being processed. However, to be on the safe side, it is recommended that you store these pickles in the refrigerator after they’ve cooled, not at room temperature.