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How to Make Dilly Beans

How to Make Dilly Beans

Words Rick Field

Rick from Rick’s Picks shares a spicy take on the classic pickled green beans recipe.

I grew up making pickles with my Mom and Dad in the summertime in Vermont. This spicy version of pickled green beans — also known as Dilly Beans — comes with a little extra heat, using cayenne and fresh dill for an unusually fresh flavor.

Eat them on their own, use as a garnish for a refreshing Bloody Mary, add to a cheese plate, or top a salad with them. Once you start pickling green beans with this twist, you won’t want to go back to the regular way. But if you prefer a little less heat, adjust the cayenne pepper to your taste (or omit entirely for a classic dilly bean recipe).

Read on below for tips on how to make this dish. Then learn how to quick pickle any vegetable or fruit and how to cut pickle slices with a mandoline.

Dilly Beans Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 6 large, mature dill heads or 6 tbsp. dill seeds and 24 fresh dill sprigs
  • 6 tsp. cayenne pepper (or a few small fresh chilies, abundant in farmers’ markets in late summer)
  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 4 lb. green beans (or enough to fill 6 one-pint jars)

Directions

Sterilize 6 one-pint jars and lids, either by immersing in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes or by running the jars through a dishwasher cycle. In a non-reactive saucepan, combine vinegar, salt and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt.

Meanwhile, in each jar, place 1 dill head (or 1 tbsp. dill seeds and 4 dill sprigs), 1 tsp. cayenne (or 1 fresh chili pepper), and 2 garlic cloves. Use ½ tsp. cayenne for a less spicy result. Trim beans so they are ½ in shorter than height of the jars, then divide and pack the beans as tightly as possible in each jar. (Pro-tip: It may help to hold the jar horizontally and use a chopstick to compact the beans as you add more).

Ladle the hot brine into each of the jar, leaving about ½ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with lids. Process the jars for 7 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove the jars and let them stand undisturbed for 24 hours, then set them aside for an additional 2 weeks to let the flavors develop.

The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If any seals fail, store that jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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