This is the recipe for the pickled beans we invited CSA members to make with us a couple weeks ago. A number of people have asked for the recipe we use, so we decided to just post it here. It is from the Ball Blue Book of Preserving, the Bible of canning and freezing. (I bought my copy at the hardware store next to the canning jars.)
Yield: about 4 pints or 2 quarts. (We generally pack a bunch of jars with beans first, and then double or triple the brine recipe.)
2 pounds green and/or yellow beans
1/4 cup canning salt
2 1/2 cups vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic
4 heads dill
Trim ends off beans. Combine salt, vinegar, and water in large saucepan. Bring mixture to boil. Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Add 1/4-tsp cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic and 1 head dill to each pint jar. (For quart jars add 1/2-tsp cayenne, 2 cloves garlic, and 2 heads of dill). Ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece lids (according to regular canning procedures). Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.*
*Last year we put the jars in for 10 minutes total, and our beans were not wrinkly. This year, we read the fine print again and it said to put in the jars and let the water come back to a boil, and THEN start the timer for 10 minutes. This year we DO have wrinkly dilly beans. How will they taste? We don’t know, because we usually treat them like cucumber pickles and wait about 6 weeks before opening them to taste. Obviously nobody got sick on our “undercooked” beans last year, but generally in canning one should try to follow the instructions for fear of botulism.
UPDATE! The wrinkly beans unwrinkled after a while and tasted great — nice and crunchy. So if your beans wrinkle up at first, don’t worry!