So this week I decided to tackle a canning project with gusto.
As a kid, one of my favorite treats was dill pickled green beans. I used to make them a few houses and 1 kid ago, but haven't in a couple years.
I gathered all my supplies this evening, and realized half way through cutting my beans that I didn't actually have any canning supplies or a recipe.
This put me in quite a pickle...but don't cry for me Argentina, I would can those beans yet.
If you are crazy about canning, I'm sure you will find the technique a bit crude, but below is what I did. You might call this the first installment in my new book "Cluster-fu*k Canning."
Loads of Green Beans (from a farmers market, local grocer or garden). The measurement of loads = 1 plastic grocery bag loosely packed.
Several stalks of fresh dill (you will want about 3 dill "flowers" per can...you do the math).
10 medium canning jars with lids.
Fresh garlic or banana pepper if desired.
5 cups of whatever vinegar is hanging out in your pantry from your last canning project.
5 cups of water from the local tap.
1/2 cup of canning or pickling salt.
You will need to get 3 pots going. This was a problem for me because my stove (always having the time of 11:26; being correct twice a day) is down to 1.5 burners. On the working burner, 2 pots snuggled together and on the partially working burner, 1 pot resided.
In a small sauce pan add some tap water and boil the lids of your jars. Not the twisty part, just the part with the rubber. Boil them for a few minutes to get the rubber juicy.
In a medium kettle, add the 5 cups of vinegar and the 5 cups of water along with the canning salt; bring to a boil. This is your brine to pour over the top of the beans.
In the largest pot you have (this is where you really should use a canner...but being green means using what you have) fill it 1/2 way full and start heating (this is for the water bath which will seal your jars). The pot needs to be tall enough for the jars plus 1" of water on top.
Make sure your glass jars are clean (you may want to run them through the dish washer), your beans are cut into 2" pieces or so and your dill is chopped short enough to fit into the jars.
One jar at a time, put about 3 dill flowers into the bottom and pack beans inside (add garlic cloves or peppers if desired). Don't forget to leave a little room at the top so the beans don't touch the lid.
Load up all your jars and when the brine is boiling, pour the brine over the beans and fill the jars...again leaving a little room at the top (1/2" or so).
After pouring on the brine, place one of your boiled tops on and twist the "twisty" on snuggly...not like Heman the Adventurer would do, just how you, on a good day would ring the neck of someone who stole your car stereo.
When your jars are all set and sealed. Check the large pot in which you have water, hopefully boiling.
This is where we get a little unconventional. Since an official canner has a little rack in it so the jars don't touch...you need to be creative in keeping them from clanking. I used a dish towel. Using an extra large BBQ tongs, I smashed the dish towel down to the bottom of the pot and lowered in the jars with the BBQ utensil. You will probably need to bathe the jars in 2 or 3 batches, but once you feel the pot has enough in it, just make sure the water is about 1" over the jars.
Bring the whole mess including the towel to a boil and continue to boil them for 5-7 minutes. It's helpful to have a lid because the towel makes the water boil funky.
During the boiling time, pour yourself a glass of wine and breathe!
When they have boiled long enough, grab the tongs and carefully get them out of the water. They will be HOT. Place them on a towel on your counter.
Repeat with your next batch of jars until all have been boiled.
Let the jars cool and make sure in a few hours that the lids are sucked down. Do this by pressing on the center of the lid and if it pops up and down, thats bad!
I don't claim to be an expert, but you could use a NEW lid, re-boil the jars and they should be fine.
You have just CANNED SOMETHING! You need to wait a few days to enjoy them however the the flavors can migrate into the beans.
Call yourself Julia Child, or Martha Stewart (pick your poison) and make a private toast to your awesomeness. Seriously, give these as gifts and people will bow down to your country canning skills.
Let me know if any of you try this recipe. I am dying to know if it's just me or if urban girls really can "can".
my vintage stove displaying 11:26 since 1976
cheers dilly beans
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