Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Refrigerator Dilly Beans

Have you ever had so many green beans you didn't know what to do with them all? You can only cook beans for dinner so many times before it gets too repetitive. This is a good way to use up a few extra beans, make something that goes great with a sandwich, and also makes a nice small gift to give to your friends and neighbors.

Though dilly beans are technically pickles, there's no need for a canner or any other special supplies. You don't even have to use canning jars. Any clean glass jar with a lid will do as long as your beans fit inside. I'm going to use an old peanut butter jar for mine.

Refrigerated Dilly Beans (1 jar. Double or triple the ingredients to get a bigger yield.)

2 cups of green beans, trimmed (I know it's hard to measure whole green beans in cup form. Just eyeball it, and I'm sure it'll be fine. Trim the stem ends off, but leave the other end, unless your beans are too long to fit comfortably in your jar. You want the brine to cover them completely.)
1 cup vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar (or you can use Splenda if you like)
2 cloves of garlic, minced (or to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt (Kosher salt contains no additives like table salt has. You don't want your dilly beans to have a cloudy brine or turn dark. Substitute plain or canning salt in a pinch.)
1/2 of a medium onion, thinly sliced (the thinner the better)
2 sprigs of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dill seed
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 to 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes, depending on how hot you like your pickles
Start by making the brine. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, minced garlic and salt to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat off and set the brine aside to cool to room temperature.

Start a large pot of water on to boil. When it reaches a full rolling boil, throw your beans in and boil them for 30 seconds.

Drain in a colander then plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking any further. This is called blanching. You want the beans to be bright green but still crisp. Drain and set aside for now.

Add onion, dill, peppercorns and chili flakes to your jar. Then add the beans, standing upright if possible, but it's not a big deal if they don't, as long as you can fit them in!

Once the brine is room temperature, pour it into the jar to 1/2 inch below the rim and screw on the lid. Place the jar in the refrigerator, and leave them for at least 2 days before you sample them. (No cheating!) They should keep for 6 months if you don't eat them all right away.


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