Thursday, August 9, 2007

Canning Dilly Beans

So the dewpoint is in the 70s and it's 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside and we are all sweating just sitting still in the shade. Time to boil up a cauldron of water and start canning! 

 It is ironic that harvesting and storing the garden bounty must be done in the steamiest of weather, but that's when the vegetables start bounding out of the garden at a lightning clip and you can actually hear them growing when the cricket chirps die down. My friend Hope taught me how to can many years ago when I was an energetic, single young lass and I enjoyed making all kinds of weird chutneys and pickle relishes that I would give out to my bewildered relatives. "What is this and how do I eat it?" was their common reaction. 

 Once the kids came, my canning efforts ceased, as toddlers do not allow for the long preparation, focus and boiling water dangers that is necessitated. Now the kids are older and I have time to can again. The bean patch started to really churn last week, so I harvested up my beautiful purple string beans, snipped off their ends and prepared them to be pickled for later consumption. It is especially nice to chop up these dilled beans and sprinkle them in winter salads, when the good, fresh vegetable selection at the market is sparse. If you have never canned before, see if you can find a friend to show you the basics, as there are a lot of health issues involved with making sure every part of the canning process is sterilized.

 If that is not possible, I would recommend getting a copy of the Ball Blue Book, published by the good folks at the Ball Canning Jar Corporation in Muncie, Indiana.  Here, then, is the Dilly Bean recipe from the Ball Blue Book: 

 Dilly Beans 
 2 lbs. trimmed green beans 
4 heads dill 
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (I like to use red pepper flakes instead)
 2-1/2 cups vinegar 
2-1/2 cups water 
1/4 cup canning salt (don't substitute regular salt, this is chemistry!) 

 Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. To each pint, add 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic and 1 head dill. Combine remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot (non-reactive, like an enamel or glass pot). Bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in boiling water bath.
 Yield: about 4 pints. Happy Canning!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the recipe. I was hunting for this particular one.

Katie Fairbank said...

Thanks for great recipe and instructions. Very helpful for a non-canner who LOVES dilly beans!

I linked to your post in mine but don't know how to officially link to it. You can see it at

Cheers and happy canning.

Anonymous said...

i have been buying the costo or sams club green beans, put in gallon pickle jug with the ingredients...I bring the ingredients to a boil, but i let it cool off before putting beans with it....let it sit a couple hours and refrigerate...they keep for months and I hope that the good enzymes of the beans are not ruined by heat in this way.
you do not HAVE to can them if you have room in the frig. I'm still alive!

Rachel said...

I had a question about substituting dill heads (the dried umbrella-like seed heads of the mature dill plant that have seeds attached) with dried dill seed. I would substitute 1/2 tsp. dill seed for one dill head. But if you like your beans even more dilly, feel free to add a little more.

NY Sunflower said...

Thanks so much, Rachael, for posting this recipe and directions. I missed my opportunity to learn canning from my mom or mother-in-law (and, frankly, 25 years ago probably eschewed the whole canning concept as I was busy doing other significant stuff).
Your blog, a couple YouTube videos, an empty nest, a retired husband, and a garden full of excellent yellow beans lead us to the canning idea then your blog.
This dilly bean experiment was a success: we enjoyed researching then conquering – hearing the lids pop this afternoon spurred me (not quite so much my husband but tomorrow is another day!) to advance further into harvest canning.
While I am hopeful all of us can continue to impart our wisdom face-to-face to our loved ones it certainly is fabulous to have such informative and kind Internet relatives.