Paradise in a mason jar

Posted Aug 28th, 2010

Paradise in a mason jar

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I am on a pickling and preserving kick.

Not since the hunger pangs I felt during my 100-Mile Diet trial three years ago compelled me to pickle and preserve what I could as a means of survival have I been so inclined to put produce in jars and stash it in my pantry for the long winter drought of local food ahead.

I'm sure my inventory pales in comparison to most people keen to can, but right now, I have a jar of red currant jelly, 11 jars of strawberry and red currant jam, five jars of tomato sauce — I forgot that a half-bushel of tomatoes really doesn't amount to much when peeled and boiled down — and my favourite, pickled beans.

The main ingredient.

I love pickled beans. They are happiness swimming in vinegar and sealed in a jar. That sound of the seal breaking as the thin metal lid is pried from the thick rim of the mason jar when opening my beans is the sound of joy and bliss. I can almost taste my pickled beans as I type this sentence and it will still be another two weeks before I can dig in. I just made a batch yesterday and have already given one jar away to my co-blogger Linda.

Packed jars, ready for liquid and sealing.

Pickled beans were my first foray into preserving. I googled a recipe three years ago and figured, after a bungled attempt to make my own yogurt,  even I could do this. And I did. I was so impressed with my accomplishment — if I do say so myself — that when I'd crack a jar, I'd pretty much polish it off in one sitting.

So, in honour of easy preserving to make a gal feel like a culinary and domestic goddess (or god for any guys reading this), I am supplying you with the easiest how-to for pickled goodness: my variation of the pickled bean recipe that made me realize I could kick the 100-Mile Diet's butt, if only for the half an hour it took me down the contents of one 500-millilitre mason jar of the lanky green veggies soaked in sourness.

The supporting cast members: dill, garlic and hot peppers (below).

Pickled Beans with Bite

1 three-litre basket of green beans, trimmed (this makes between four and six 500-ml or one-litre jars)

In each jar place one clove of garlic, peeled, one hot pepper and two large sprigs of dill (or more if you like dill).

Pack with beans.

Add 1 tsp. salt

Bring to a boil 3 cups each of water and white vinegar

Ladle the vinegar-water mix into the packed jars (make sure your jars are sterilized).

Put lids on and place in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.Beans are ready to eat in about two weeks — enough time for them to have soaked up the dilly flavour.


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