Thursday, August 21, 2014

Putting Up: Dilly Beans

I've been making Dilly Beans for at least a dozen years, give or take a missed season here and there. Last year my beans went bad while we attended a family issue. It was sad to see my dilly bean shelf empty all winter. Dilly beans are the perfect addition to a veggie tray that includes pickles and olives. And when the guys get together for a poker game my Dilly's are on the top of the request list.

The local farm stand is open here on Wednesdays. I arrived there early and the green beans were at the peak of the season. So Dilly Beans it was. I've been using the recipe from Ball Blue Book all these years (see original recipe below) and made a few tweaks to suit our taste. More garlic. Red pepper flakes in place of the cayenne. A pinch of celery seed. And just for prettiness sake I add a few matchsticks of carrot or bell pepper. Why bother with canning if it doesn't look lovely on the shelf?

Dilly Beans benefit from a three to four month curing period, stored properly out of sunlight in a cool room.

The following is the original recipe from Ball Blue Book. Be sure to following strict canning and processing procedures to ensure the safety and goodness of your put-up produce.

Original Dilly Bean Recipe

Original recipe (C) Ball Blue Book 1997 by Alltrista Corporation.

2 pounds green beans
1/4 cup canning salt
2-1/2 cups white vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
4 cloves garlic, divided
4 heads dill, divided

Trim ends off green beans. Combine salt, vinegar, and water in a 2-quart sauce pan. Bring to boil. Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 head dill to each pint. (For quarts add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 cloves garlic, and 2 heads dill to each jar with the green beans.) Ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Yield: about 4 pints or 2 quarts

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