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Pickling Outside the Box

Posted by by Tim Pohland, category manager, online shopping
Monday, August 15, 2011

Years ago as a young child, one of the highlights of my summer was waking up at dawn and going to the farmers market with my family. We would pick up a few bushels of pickling cucumbers and go home to make our “famous” spicy dill pickles. To this day, this is an every other year tradition that I still cherish.

As I enrolled in culinary school and my dreams turned to food and recipes, there was always a recurring thought. Why can’t other vegetables be pickled? About 8 years ago, one our bi-annual farmers market excursion, I glanced over and saw the mounds of fresh green beans and wondered what would happen if we pickled those green gems. We bought just a few pounds so we could experiment with them. After all, if they turned into a disaster, we probably couldn’t even give them away. I tweaked our spicy dill pickle recipe a little bit…a little less garlic and red pepper flakes…a little more dill, and canned away. Just like home brewing beer, the toughest part of canning is waiting for them to be ready.

After an excruciating 6-8 week wait, we finally cracked a jar open. We all popped one into our mouth and nobody said a word for what seemed like minutes. Success!! These were the most flavorful, crispy but not too raw, tender but not too limp pickled green bean ever. Processed canned vegetables, like a fine wine, get better with age. 2-3 years is usually about the limit, but I dare you to keep from eating them all by then! I’m sure others in the past have pickled green beans, but to us, this was uncharted territory.

After we decided on a name, our newly famous “Dilly Beans” came to be one of our canning staples. I claim the naming rights, but that’s debatable with my family. Over the years, we’ve experimented with other vegetables: Asparagus, carrots, cauliflower, jalapeno peppers, mushrooms…each perfecting the brine and seasoning to enhance but not overpower the vegetable.

Interest in canning and pickling has really grown in the last few years…almost 30%. It is also one of Food Channel’s top 10 new trends. So come visit your favorite Lunds or Byerly’s store and grab all of the supplies (we have a new expanded section) you need to make a new family tradition you’ll continue to enjoy for years.

Please share your successes or disasters with your pickling endeavors!

Tim’s Dilly Beans Recipe

4 Lbs. green beans, washed and trimmed (about 4 quarts)

In each pint jar (about 7), add:

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon dill seed
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • green beans (stuff them in there)

Next, bring to a boil:

  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup canning salt

Pour mixture over beans. Seal the jar. Process in boiling water for 25 minutes. Cool. They will be ready in about 6-8 weeks.

Makes about 7 pints.

Tags: pickling

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