Monday, August 4, 2008
Canning Sweet and Sour Wax Beans
Despite only having ten or so plants from my mole-ravaged row of yellow Rocdor wax beans, these plants have been incredibly prolific and have kept pumping out produce for our table which we have enjoyed simply steamed and in a delicious Yellow String Bean and Tomato Salad, which is my new favorite bean salad. Since the beans are still streaming in and now we are entering the fertile tomato-zucchini crescendo, I thought I would try canning some for the winter.
I still have a couple of jars of Dilly Beans from last year, so I was searching for a new pickling recipe. The library had a few canning and preserving books left on their shelves and this old-fashioned recipe jumped out at me from "Pickles, Relishes, Chutneys, Sauces & Catsups, Mincemeats, Beverages & Syrups" (Emmaus, PA: Yankee Books, 1992). I didn't have summer savory as called for in the original recipe so I subbed in some chopped basil. I also forgot to pop in the bay leaves I had laid out when filling the jars, but this will hopefully not put me in a pickle later on. Here's my adaptation of:
Sweet-Sour Wax Beans
2 lbs. wax beans, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. dried summer savory or basil (or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs)
Get all of your pickling jars and implements washed and sterilized in hot water. Get the canning kettle ready on the stove and heat until boiling. Cover until ready to can.
Place beans in a pot and cover with water. Add a little bit of salt and cook until just barely tender, about 4 minutes, once the water has begun to boil.
Drain beans, saving about 2 cups of cooking liquid. Mix cooking liquid with vinegar, sugar, celery seed, ginger and savory/basil to make a pickling brine. Bring to a boil. Add beans and bring to a boil again.
Pack clean, hot pint jars with beans, pop in bay leaves, and cover with hot brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at top. Cap jars and add to canning kettle. Bring to boil again and process 5 minutes.
Remove jars to cool overnight. Check to make sure all lids have popped down in the center before storing in a cool, dry pantry. If one or more of the lids haven't popped down, store jars in the refrigerator.
Makes 4 pints.
The library cookbook recommends serving this with pork, but I think I will pop the pickled beans into potato salads and serve on a relish tray.