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)
Bay leaves

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.


Alicia Foodycat said...

I don't know what a wax bean is, but if it is a pickle, I like it! Do you eat them straight away or do they need to mature?

What's Cookin Chicago said...

I have canning envy! :) I've been intimidated by canning because it seems so labor intensive. One of these days I will get out there and try it... hopefully in time for next year so I can take advantage of the summer produce available!

Rachel said...

Hi Foodycat:

A wax bean is basically another name for a yellow string bean. You could also do this recipe with green beans. I only tasted a few of the beans that were leftover from the canning, and they seemed like they needed some time to absorb all the flavors from the pickling brine, so I am going to let them rest for at least a month before cracking one open.


I know what you mean about canning envy, but I was fortunate enough to have a friend who taught me how to do it and it really is just a matter of getting some basic supplies: big pot, rack to hold the jars in the pot, jar lifter, and metallic thingy to grab the lids out of hot water. You just need new canning lids each year once you have your jars, so it's a pretty economical and I think, fun thing to do.

Maybe you have a foodie friend out there in your neighborhood who will show you how to do it and then it's basically the same process each time.


Anonymous said...

I've never thought of pickling beans. It's a great idea!

Gluten free Kay said...

Hi Rachel,

I have beans galore just now - round ones, flat ones, yellow ones, green ones. I think I'll try your recipe with the whole mix. Thanks for this timely post!

It will be nice to have something tasty and gluten free in the pantry when the garden season is over.

Anonymous said...

Why do you process this only 5 minutes in the water bath??? The standard for most recipes I have seen is at least 10 minutes?????