Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another first - Pickled Beans

Inspired by one of my favourite local bloggers and her zeal for pickled green beans, I once again gave in to my canning impulses and bought 2lbs of local green beans (the ones in our garden have all been eaten by the kids - gotta love yard snacks). Instead of dill, which honestly I didn't think to buy, I used basil from my back step. I combined Italian and Thai because I didn't have enough Thai basil to use it exclusively. It really hasn't been as robust this year as in past summers.

So with thanks for the inspiration to Tiffany at Eating Niagara, here is my recipe for Pickled Basil Beans

2 lbs. green beans
3/8 c. pickling salt
3 tsp. sugar
3 3/4 c. vinegar
3 3/4 c. water
1 tsp Pickle Crisp, divided (optional)
dried chilies, optional
fresh whole garlic bulbs
fresh basil leaves

Trim the stem ends off the beans. Combine salt, sugar, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil.

To each jar add 1/4 teaspoon Pickle Crisp, 1 dried chili, 1-2 cloves of garlic, quarted, and 6-12 leaves of basil. Pack beans lengthwise into the jars, leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Ladle hot brine over the beans, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Run a clean knife around the inside of the jar to loosen any air bubbles and readjust the headspace.

Wipe the rim and loosely apply 2 piece lids (the ones with the screw band and the flat part that you put in hot water ahead of time to soften the sealing compound). Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Let stand at least 2 weeks for the flavours to mellow and blend. The brine that's leftover after you eat the beans is nice in salad dressings and stir fries.

Yield: about 4 pints.

Editing to add - It's mid-September and I've tried my beans.  They are nice and crisp, but the basil flavour is lacking.  I would double the number of basil leaves the next time.  The chilies give a good little kick, though.

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