Last Tuesday I hit the farmer’s market, looking for interesting things. One of my finds was a gorgeous mixture of string beans – green, purple, and wax. I snapped up two baskets of them ($5!) and brought them home to make one of my must-make-every-year favorites. It’s terribly simple and utterly delicious, not to mention *fast* – putting the beans into the jars is by far the most time-consuming part of this project, and since it only makes 6 jars you’ll maybe spend half an hour on that step. Not so bad for how tasty they are!
Scroll down to “TL;DR” (too long; didn’t read) for the recipe.
Start by putting your canner on to boil, with enough water to cover your pint jars. While you’re waiting for that, start snapping off the stem ends of about 3# of washed string beans. I laid them out on a sheet pan because it’s easier to put them into the jars if they’re all laid out nicely. Plus I may have a touch of the OCD.
Once you’ve got your beans all ready, put six washed pint jars into the canner to sterilize. Throw your rings, ladle, and canning funnel in too.* Put the lids in a pan of water and bring it up to a simmer, then keep it hot while you’re doing everything else.
At this point, make sure you’ve got all of your things handy. Since I usually do my canning outdoors, I haul everything out on sheet pans. You can see that I have all of my merde en place here. Clockwise from upper right: pickling brine, funnel, peppercorns, sliced garlic, hot jar lids, magnetic lid lifter, bowl of basil sprigs, canning rings, ladle, 3# of washed, trimmed beans, bloody mary (in a canning jar, naturally), and The Joy of Pickling (there’s a newer edition of this, but I have the older one). Not pictured: jar lifter, canning spatula.
To make the brine, put 3.5 cups each of water and white wine vinegar into a nonreactive pan. Add 2TB of pickling salt and bring it up to a boil, then keep it hot. Once your jars are ready (about 10 minutes in boiling water should sterilize them effectively), remove them one by one from the canner and fill them with beans. You’ll need to snap/cut some beans to fit, but save the trimmings – you can either add them to the jars or throw them in with dinner.
Once the beans are all packed into jars, add a couple springs of fresh basil (or a sprig of tarragon, if you have it – this is my preferred herb for this, but my tarragon plant died and hasn’t been replaced. Sad face.), a sliced garlic clove, and six peppercorns to each jar. Fill to within 1/2″ of the top with your hot brine, then put on lids and rings.
I really hoped that those purple string beans would keep their color, since they only spend 5 minutes in the canner and are raw when they go in. Sadly, they came out a rather disturbing shade of brown. But they’ll be delicious nonetheless!
I’ll put these in the pantry for a couple weeks, and then we’ll tear into them. I love that the beans are still very crunchy with this – it’s one of my favorite textures for pickled foods.
Pickled Green Beans with Basil, from The Joy of Pickling, by Linda Ziedrich
- 3# string beans, washed and trimmed to 4″
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 36 peppercorns
- 12 sprig fresh basil or 6 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 3.5 cups white wine vinegar
- 3.5 cups water
- 2 TB pickling salt
Sterilize jars, rings, and tools in boiling water. Cover jar lids with water and bring them to a boil, then hold hot. Mix vinegar, water, and salt together in nonreactive pot and bring to boil. Pack beans into hot jars, adding one sliced garlic clove , six peppercorns, and two sprigs basil/one sprig tarragon to each jar. Cover with hot brine, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Remove air bubbles, then cover with two-piece lids and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool, then remove rings and store in a cool, dry place after checking the seal. Any jars that do not seal should be refrigerated.
*I confess that I do not usually sterilize my canning tools, other than the jars. I am lazy and have never had something go wrong, but I am also prepared to accept responsibility if my product ends up contaminated, so I make sure to start with very clean tools and wash my hands frequently, plus I inspect everything periodically for signs of spoilage (mold, bulging lids) and give everything a smell check when I open the jar.