Because this year was my first time planting beans in the garden ... and they grew, without any bug or disease drama.
And they didn't just grow; they grew well and prolifically -- prolifically enough for me to start searching around for new and different (to me) ways to use and preserve green beans.
I know I've had gardening success when I bring my harvest into the house and Mr. Ninj says, "They look just like the ones you buy in the grocery store!"
(I'm also pretty proud of the fact that my bean trellis is actually a repurposed garden arbor that had to be removed to make way for the new barn. I love re-using and recycling!)
|Bean seedlings: April 19, 2012|
|Seedlings transplanted to the garden: May 19, 2012|
|We have beans (and a barn)! August 1, 2012|
|Lots more than just beans, too: August 1, 2012|
So, in addition to steaming the beans and adding them into other dishes -- such as last week's peach and bean pasta -- I ventured into dilly beans.
Since I like pickles -- eating them and making them -- I figured this wouldn't be a stretch.
Even though, truth be told, I've never eaten dilly beans before.
(Pick your jaw up off the floor. Remember, I've spent a lot of my adult life in suburbia, rather than here on the homestead. Canning your harvest wasn't really the talk around the water cooler or in the Target parking lot.)
Verdict? Dilly beans rock! Pickle-y but with better crunch and hey, they count as a serving of vegetables.
And if you put them in a bloody mary, that's about eight servings of vegetables, right?
Health in a glass, I'd say! (snort)
Clearly there are many dilly bean recipes out there to pick from; without having a fellow canner to recommend one, I simply chose one from Edible Seattle to adapt because
- I like the Edible magazines a lot
- I like Seattle a lot (I keep telling everyone that the Seattle area is a lot like Vermont but without the snow. Who's with me?)
Sometimes that's all the logic you need in a decision-making process.
Do you have a favorite way to prepare or eat dilly beans? Tell me about it in the comment below ... or over a bloody mary.
Dilly Beans (adapted from a recipe from Edible Seattle)
Green beans, trimmed (about 2-3 cups)
Onion, thinly sliced (I used white onion and added about 1/4 of the onion to each pint jar)
Fresh dill sprigs (2 per jar)
Black peppercorns (1/2 teaspoon per jar)
Red pepper flakes (1/8 teaspoon per jar)
Whole clove garlic, slightly crushed (1-2 per jar)
For the brine, which makes enough for a couple of pint jars or one quart jar:
3/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Blanch the beans by submerging them in boiling water for about 30 seconds then transferring them to an ice-water bath until cooled.
Pack the green beans, onion and dill vertically into clean canning jars (I used pint jars). Add the peppercorns, red pepper flakes and garlic.
In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into the jars, leaving just a little headspace. Cover jars and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Beans will be ready to eat in 2-3 days and will keep for months in the refrigerator.