Well folks, it's that time of year again. Time to preserve the harvest for the colder months. Of course, I'm not having much of a harvest to preserve. I was really hopeful that my 100 green and purple string bean plants would produce enough beans to make at least a few jars of delicious dilly beans, but unfortunately the slugs and whatever other disease those poor crispy plants succumbed to had other plans for me. (Garden FAIL!)
Luckily, we have professional farmers. I heart professional farmers. A few weeks ago, I picked up a whole bunch of delicious green beans from our local farmer's market and got busy with some dill, garlic, and fresh jalapeños. I did manage to incorporate some of my own purple string beans into the bunch, thinking that the purple would be quite pretty. Sadly, I think as soon as I poured the hot brine over them, the purpleness disappeared. Oh well!
I followed the recipe in Putting Food By for Dilly Green Beans with a few modifications. I decided to substitute half of the white vinegar with apple cider vinegar. I'm not quite sure why I decided to do it that way, and I'm not sure how it'll turn out, but we'll see how that affects the flavor. Also, the recipe made about 9 pints instead of the predicted 7 pints. Fine by me.
Luckily, there were still enough leftover green beans to blanch and freeze 4 pint jars. Can't wait to use those in stir frys and soups come winter.
And now, I'm off to make batch #2 of spicy polish dill pickles (which I wrote about last year). mmmm pickles.... I'm also wondering if I have time to process a half-bushel of Michigan peaches that I saw at the coop before we leave for our trip this Sunday. That might be pushing it though, huh?
What's your favorite way to preserve the harvest these days?
Dilly Green Beans
adapted from Putting Food By
Yield: approximately 9 pints
4 lbs fresh whole green beans
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
5 cups water
1/2 cup less 1 Tbl pickling salt (you can use kosher salt ground up if you can't find pickling salt)
For each jar:
1 whole fresh jalapeño
1 fresh dill head
1 fresh whole clove garlic
Wash beans and trim the ends to fit the jars you're using. You should leave 1 inch headroom in the jars, so take that into consideration when trimming the beans. Sterilize 9 pint jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions. In each jar, place 1 fresh jalapeño, 1 fresh dill head, and 1 fresh whole clove garlic. Pack beans into jars, leaving 1 inch headroom.
Heat vinegar, water, and salt until just boiling. Pour brine over beans, filling each jar to 1/2 inch from the top. Run a plastic knife or spatula around the edge of each jar to release air bubbles. Wipe rims and threads of jars and screw on tops. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to cool fully. Wait at least two weeks to eat for beans to develop flavor.