Friday, July 13, 2012
Where I come from, some days we pick vegetables from the garden and get enough for a "run" and sometimes for a "mess."
Mr. G asked me once, "Exactly how much is a mess?" (he's a left-brain, analytical thinker and needed to know)
My answer, "Enough."
"Enough for what?"
A "mess" is enough of whatever vegetable you have... to serve for a meal... and have enough for everyone who is there to eat... so a "mess" can vary greatly... a "mess" for just Mr. G and me is much less than a "mess" for a family of 6... it took awhile to explain it to him, but I think he finally got it.
Recently I picked green beans from our little garden on the Ridge... I got more than a "mess" but not really enough for a "run" of pressure canned green beans (that would be a canner full, in this case 7 quarts of canned green beans is a run)... what to do?
I decided to make a few jars of Dilly Beans... a tasty, pickled green bean recipe...
Here's what I did...
I washed and sterilized my jars and lids by boiling them in water and leaving the water simmering while I prepared the ingredients.
In my large, stainless steel saucepan, I combined...
3 Tbsp. canning and pickling salt
3 cups white vinegar
and 3 cups water
I brought the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt.
I added about 4-1/2 pounds of green beans
and 3 small red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips... (at least that's what the recipe called for... I didn't have any red bell peppers but had a LOT of sweet banana peppers, I used banana peppers instead)
to the liquid mixture and returned it to a boil, then removed it from the heat.
(the recipe called for 2-1/4 pounds green beans and 2-1/4 pounds yellow wax beans, I didn't have wax beans so I used all green beans)
In each of my hot pint jars I placed...
1 sprig of fresh dill (or two, depending on the size of the sprig)
1 clove of garlic (or two, some of my garlic cloves were really small)
*Note: if fresh dill is not available, use 1/2 tsp. dill seeds per jar.
Next I filled my jars with the green beans (strung, trimmed and cut into jar-length pieces), trying to get them in vertically so they would look all pretty in the jars.
I ladled hot pickling liquid into the jars, covering the beans and peppers and leaving a half inch headspace. I removed any air bubbles and adjusted the liquid as needed.
Then I wiped the rims of the jars with a damp cloth.
And tightened my lids on to fingertip tightness.
I placed the jars in my canner, ensuring they were completely covered with water. I brought the water to a boil and processed them for 10 minutes. After processing, I removed the jars from the canner and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar!
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving says... These delicious and zesty pickles can be used in salads, on relish trays, or as garnishes... mix a little salad oil with the brine after opening for a flavorful vinaigrette dressing.
For a printable copy of this recipe click here.