Peppery, Pickled, Green Beans
Oh, how I love green beans. Incidentally, my dogs love green beans too. When I cook up some green beans there is a lot of excitement in my house (random). It has become a bit of New Year’s tradition for me to pickle several jars of green beans.
In the South, it is tradition to eat “greens” and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. The amount of “greens” (usually collard, but it has become a very loose interpretation) you eat corresponds to the amount of money you make. And, the cook hides a (hopefully very clean) dime into the black-eyed peas. Whoever ends up with the dime on her plate has a year of very good luck (there is usually a lot of cheating involved in this). My parents are traveling this year, and my siblings and I live ever further apart, but if my mother was in town I would be expected to be at her table eating collard greens and black-eyed peas with gusto.
So, in response to this tradition, Southern grocery stores become glutted with collard greens, spinach, kale, cabbage, and green beans immediately after Christmas. In fact, when I did a grocery run earlier today (at 4ish) the poor stockboy was putting out more collard greens! I whole-heartedly hate collard greens and cabbage, and while I do appreciate kale and spinach, I like to take advantage of the sudden glut of inexpensive, fresh, green beans in my local grocery store. Like, fresh green beans are SO cheap during this time of the year!
Peppery, Pickled, Green Beans
Yields 9 pint jars (I use mason jars which you can buy at any grocery store in Georgia. You can also find them in any Goodwill in Georgia. Just make sure you really wash before! If you make this way I do and forgo the “sealing” step, you can store the results in a tightly lidded piece of Tupperware as long as you refrigerate it.)
You will need:
-2 lbs of green beans
-10 cups distilled white vinegar
-6 cups water
-1 cup of salt (I like to use kosher rock salt)
-3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
-2 chili peppers (chopped)
-4 stems of dill weed (strip the “leaves” from the stem)
-4 ½ teaspoons of peppercorns (I use the multicolor b/c it is pretty)
You will need to-do:
Place rinsed green into jars. You can snap off the ends if you like, but I think they are aesthetically pleasing. I only snap off the ends of the beans that are too tall for my jar.
Mix vinegar, water, and salt in a large pot (you’re making a brine). Put on high heat and bring to a boil.
While waiting for the brine to boil, chop the garlic and peppers, de-stem the dill weed, and measure out the peppercorns. Separate your materials out into 1/9th increments. I’m pretty laid-back about this part.
Put garlic, pepper, dill weed, and peppercorns into jars.
Remove boiling brine from heat, and immediately ladle into jars. Quickly cap the jars and allow to cool. Refrigerate. Beans are “officially” ready in 2 weeks, but I usually dive in after just one week! I don’t take the extra step to seal the jars, and I’ve never had the beans go bad as long as I kept them in a fridge. I also eat them pretty quickly.
Optional: If you want to be able to store your beans outside of a fridge and/or have them sealed in a canning manner (and thereby increase the longevity of your beans): put a jar into a boiling pot of water that covers the top of the jar. Allow to boil for 10 minutes.