Have you ever wondered what spicy dilly beans are? Well, they’re simply pickled green beans that are flavored with dill, garlic, and spicy pepper flakes. But there’s more to it than that. In this post, the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen takes a look at how to pickle green beans. More importantly, the Test Kitchen staff learns a few lessons along the way and shares them with you in this post.
Hi! Chef Blondie here! – Perhaps your home gardens are similar to what we have on our vast 1.203-acre estate. If so, you probably have the ingredients you need to pickle spicy dilly beans. But, even if you don’t have a garden, all the ingredients are in season and readily available. Now is the best time to learn how to make this delicious treat.
This is my first food preserving post of the season. So, it’s worthwhile to review some of the basics. Allow me to recommend some authoritative food preserving resources that have served the SFH Test Kitchen very well:
- USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning Revised
- USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2015 revision (Free PDF download)
- National Center for Home Food Preservation
- How Do I? …Pickle How Do I . . . Pickle? Pickling
1. Spicy Dilly Beans – Level of the challenge
Pickling is not a difficult process. It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. There is a quick pickling process and there is a canned pickle method. The recipe we used is the canned pickle method. It uses a stronger brine and a water-bath canning process to extend shelf life. – This is one of the simplest recipes we use in the SFH Test Kitchen.
2. good-quality ingredients for Spicy Dilly Beans
Produce & Herbs: Ingredients are very important to the process of pickling. Using produce and herbs straight from the garden is the best way to go. If you don’t have your own produce and herbs on hand, check out your local farmers’ market or a nearby community supported agriculture (CSA) outlet. – We used our own green beans, garlic, and dill.
Salt: Salt is an integral part of many pickling processes and flavor twists. Canning or pickling salt that does not contain iodine or non-caking material is ideal. – We used mrs. wages Pickling & Canning Salt for this pickling session. It produces a very clear brine.
Distilled Vinegar: Use apple cider or white distilled vinegar, but the pickles may taste best with the recommended type in the recipe. Apple cider vinegar is milder and offers a different flavor note than white distilled vinegar. – Remember, whichever vinegar you select should be at least five percent acetic acid.
3. Use of cooking techniques
My friends, this is where I and the entire Test Kitchen staff strongly recommend that you stick to the best practices for pickling and canning. For a review of those best practices, click here. – If you follow these guidelines, it will build your confidence and give you great results.
4. Development of superior Dilly Bean taste and flavor
If you’ve selected the best ingredients and have followed best practices, this recipe won’t fail. The flavor will be there. – Should you have family members or friends who prefer less spicy food, reduce the amount of red pepper flakes, or leave them out completely.
5. Presentation of Spicy Dilly Beans
Spicy dilly beans look great on a charcuterie tray. They also work well as a side to a light summer lunch or snack. It doesn’t matter much how you arrange them. That’s because they won’t remain there very long.
6. Lessons learned
The soon-to-be-world-famous SFH Test Kitchen takes great pride in its work and its achievements. We strive for culinary perfection. And we do that by critiquing ourselves and learning from our mistakes and through constant study. Here are three lessons we’ve learned along the way.
Store Jars Without Ring Bands
The National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) recommends that jars be stored without ring bands to keep them dry as well as to allow for easier detection of any broken vacuum seals. However, if you choose to re-apply the ring bands, make sure all surfaces are clean and thoroughly dry first.
No Need for Alum or Pickle Crisp
Some recipes for pickled dilly beans call for either alum or Ball Pickle Crisp to add crispness. The NCHFP article Preparing and Canning Fermented and Pickled Foods advises that alum may be safely used to firm fermented pickles. However, alum and Ball Pickle Crisp are not necessary for pickling dilly beans.
Heat the Water Bath Faster
Heating up the water bath can take a long time and slow down canning. We’ve learned to heat some of the water in an electric kettle. It cuts the overall heating time by half.
Spicy Dilly BeansHave you ever wondered what spicy dilly beans are? Well, they're simply pickled green beans that are flavored with dill, garlic, and spicy pepper flakes. But there's more to it than that. In our accompanying post, the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen takes a look at how to pickle green beans.
- 1 Boiling-water canner with rack
- 1 Jar lifter
- 1 Bubble remover or headspace tool
- 1 Jar funnel
- 4 1-pint Mason jars with new lids
- 2 pounds green beans
- ¼ cup Ball Salt for Pickling & Preserving
- 2 ½ cups vinegar 5% acidity
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 heads fresh dill or ¼ cup dill seed
- Ball Pickle Crisp optional
- Wash green beans under cold running water & drain. Trim ends off green beans.Peel garlic and crush or slice thinly.
- Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
- Combine salt, vinegar, and water in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer (180°F); simmer 10 minutes.
- Pack green beans lengthwise into a hot jar, leaving ½-inch headspace. Add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 head of dill or 2 teaspoons dill seed. Add ⅛ teaspoon Pickle Crisp to pint jar or ¼ teaspoon Pickle Crisp to quart jar, if desired.
- Ladle hot pickling liquid over green beans, leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Clean jar rim. Center lid on jar and adjust band to fingertip-tight. Place jar on the rack elevated over simmering water (180°F) in boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
- Lower the rack into simmering water. Water must cover jars by 1 inch. Adjust heat to medium-high, cover canner and bring water to a rolling boil. Process pint or quart jars 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cover. Let jars cool 5 minutes.
- Remove jars from canner; do not re-tighten bands if loose. Cool 12 hours. Check seals. Label and store jars.