In a Pickle

Had you told me a few years ago that I would be making pickles, I would have laughed.  I didn't used to like pickles.  I would hate opening up the wrapper of a sandwich I bought at a deli only to find a rubbery pickle snuggling up to my delicious lunch.  Figuring I would never escape pickles, I decided I would try and like them.  It took a while but I finally turned hate into appreciation.  I've seen all sorts of pickled vegetables at local farmers markets and wanted to give it a try.

I was already canning jam and tomatoes, why not green beans and jalapeno slices too?!


Dilly Beans!

(makes about 5 pint jars)

4 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)

3 tablespoons pure kosher salt

5 sprigs fresh dill

5 cloves of garlic

5 or 10 dried hot red chiles

2 1/2 to 5 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (options depending on how spicy you want it to be)

2 pounds crisp green beans, ends trimmed, 4 1/2 inches long



By now you know the drill:

Prepare your water bath for canning. (see my peach jam post for reference)

In your preserving pot, combine the vinegar, 4 cups of water, and the salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt.

Ladle boiling water for the canning pot into the bowl with the lids.  Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel.  Drain the water off the jar lids.


Working quickly, put a sprig of dill, a clove of garlic, 1 or 2 dried chiles, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, in each hot jar. Pack the beans in the jars, standing them upright.  (This is trickier than you think it would be.  I was trying not to touch the sterilized jar with my fingers while making sure the beans were staying upright.  Hard.)  Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top.  Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles that might have gotten trapped in the jars.  Put the jar lids on, then tighten the rings. Return the jars to the water and let them simmer for 10 minutes to process.  Remove the jars to a towel and let them rest for 12 hours. Like the jam, and tomatoes, they should start to pop, telling you the seal worked. You've got some dilly beans!!!  They're so pretty in the jars!  Nice fall colors. I plan on tasting them for the first time at Thanksgiving (*cough*, Elisabeth and Jennifer you should show up *cough*).


Did you think this post was over? I have a spicy finish to this one.

Pickled Jalapeno Slices

makes about 4 pint jars

2/1 pounds jalapeno chiles

4 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)

2 tablespoons sugar or honey

4 cloves garlic

Sanitize your jars, prepare your lids, get your towels ready guys, this is about to be a hot and spicy mess.  At least it was for me.  I thought my jalapenos were relatively mild, so I went against all basic chile rules and sliced them without gloves on.  I won't know this is a mistake until about an hour later.

IMG_2072.JPGCut your jalapenos into 1/8 inch thick rounds and rinse them in a colander under cold running water, shaking it to remove loose seeds.  Pick out and throw out any very dark colored seeds.  Drain well. In a non-reactive pot, combine the vinegar, 1 cup water, the sugar, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.

Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids, like we've done in the past, to sanitize them.  Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on the folded towel.  Just like the green beans, while the jars are hot, put a peeled garlic clove in each and pack with the chiles, leaving one inch of headspace.  (This is where I started to cough violently.  Apparently the combination of the hot vinegar steam and the chile slices was too much to handle.  Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles that might have gotten caught and then place the lids and rings on the jars after cleaning off the rims with a paper towel.  Return the jars to the water bath for 10 minutes to process.  Remove them with your jar lifter and place them on a clean towel for 12 hours.

Considering I've only eaten these slices with nachos at the movies (junk food guilty!) I'm not really sure what I'll do with all these pickled jalapenos but I'm sure I'll figure it out.  I got only three pints out of what I had but I didn't weigh the jalapenos all that carefully when I bought them.



Fast foward to an hour after the jars have been finished...my fingers start to viciously burn.  At first I thought boiling water had splashed up on them but I didn't remember that happening  My nail beds, and between my fingers burned from the jalapenos for a good three hours after I was all done and cleaned up in the kitchen.  Word to the wise, no matter how mild you think the jalapenos are, wear gloves. You'll thank me.  Really.

Next up... Cherry Jam!