Pickled Green Beans
Recipe and photo courtesy of Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D.
Ingredients listed are per 4 pint jars
- 2 lbs fresh, unblemished straight green beans
- 2-½ cups vinegar (5%)
- 2-½ cups water
- ¼ cup pickling salt
- 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 tsps dill seed, or 4 heads of dill
Part 1 - Preparing the Canner and Jars
- Wash hands with soap and water.
- Assemble equipment and ingredients.
- Fill boiling water canner, with rack, half full of clean hot water. Begin warming water in canner, but do not let water get too hot (not above 140 degrees F.) before adding jars.
- Wide-mouth pint jars work best. Examine jars carefully. Discard any with cracks or chips in the rim. Examine ring bands and discard any with rust or bends. These imperfections could prevent a seal from forming.
- Wash jars thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse well, and then stand the empty jars upright on the rack in the boiling water canner. There should be enough water to fill the jars and still come to a level 1-2 inches above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. (If you are at an altitude of 1000 feet or more, add 1 minute of sterilizing time for each 1000 feet of altitude.) At the end of the boiling time, lower the heat and keep the jars warming in the hot water until they are ready to be filled. Your canner water should be only about 140 degrees F when it is time to add the filled jars back for processing, however.
- Prepare lids and ring bands according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Heat 3 to 4 cups hot water in a medium saucepot or electric hot-pot for adding to canner in case it is needed.
Part 2 - Preparing the Pickled Green Beans
- Combine vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir while heating to dissolve salt. Turn heat to a low burner setting to keep the solution just warm while you fill jars. Do not let the mixture simmer or boil while you fill jars, or you will concentrate the vinegar and salt too much.
- Remove canning jars from hot water with jar lifter. Carefully empty the warm water back into the canner. Place jars upside down on towel-covered countertop until ready to fill each one.
- Pack the prepared beans, lengthwise, into the prepared jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. They should be packed rather tightly but without squeezing or mashing the beans.
- To each pint jar of beans, add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 teaspoon dill seed or 1 head of dill.
- Bring the vinegar mixture back to a boil.
Part 3 – Finish Filling the Jars
- Rest a funnel in a jar. Ladle hot vinegar solution into jars with green beans, leaving ½ inch from the top of the beans and liquid to the top of the jar rim. This gap is called headspace.
- Make sure liquid is covering pieces of food. Measure headspace to ensure it is ½ inch. This is not easy with raw packs; you may need to gently push beans down with a clean spoon or your headspace gauge to judge the final headspace after canning. Add or remove liquid with a spoon, if needed.
- Remove air bubbles by moving bubble-freer or plastic spatula gently in and out around the inside edge of the jar. Air bubbles trapped in the jar will rise to the top as the pickles heat and can increase the headspace so that a seal and/or proper vacuum may not form and the pickles will not be covered by the solution after canning.
- After removing air bubbles, headspace may have increased. Measure headspace once more to ensure it is ½ inch. You may need to add more hot pickling liquid with a spoon.
- Wipe jar rims with a clean, damp paper towel. Anything on the rim could interfere with sealing.
- Apply and adjust prepared lids. Tighten bands on jars until fingertip tight unless your lid manufacturer provides different directions. Fingertip tight is when you meet firm resistance as you turn the band on the jar. If a band is too tight, then air cannot escape and a seal might not form. If a band is too loose, then liquid could escape from the jar and a seal might not form.
Part 4 - Boiling Water Canner Process
- Check the temperature of the water in canner; 140°F is the desired temperature for a raw pack. You can do this as you are finishing up filling your jars, above, in case you have to adjust the burner if necessary. This water temperature reduces the risk of jar breakage when the cooled-down jars are added.
- Use a jar lifter to place the jars of pickles one at a time on the rack in the canner. Keep jars upright at all times. Again, anything on the rim area might prevent the seal from forming. Make sure water is 1-2 inches above tops of jars. Add hot water from your saucepan if needed, pouring between jars rather than directly on top of jars.
- Place the lid on the canner and turn heat to high. Bring water in canner to a vigorous boil, and then begin a timer set for your process time. If the water ever stops boiling, return the water to a boil and start the timing process again. See Table 1 below for the process time according to your altitude.
- Turn off heat after the allotted process time has passed. Remove canner lid with lid pointed away from you to avoid the steam. Wait 5 minutes before removing jars.
- Remove jars one at a time with a jar lifter, being careful not to tilt them. (If there is water on the lid, it will cool with the jar and may even run off during cooling.) Place jars at least 1 inch apart on a dry towel, cooling rack, or wooden cutting board. Place away from drafts of moving air.
- Let jars cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours.
- Check for proper seals; lids will be curved inward when properly sealed.
- Remove ring bands. With a wet, clean cloth, wipe jars and lids; wash, rinse and dry if needed to make sure they are clean everywhere. Re-label jars if needed. Store in a cool, dark, dry place and enjoy with family and friends within one year for best quality. Store any unsealed jars in refrigerator.
Table 1. Recommended process time for Pickled Green Beans in boiling-water canner.
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0-1,000 ft||1,000-6,000 ft||About 6,000 ft|
|Raw||Pints||5 min||10 min||15 min|
- 10 min. (0-1,000 ft,),
- 15 min. (1,001-6,000 ft) or
- 20 min. (above 6,000 ft)