Friday, July 6, 2012

Dilly Beans with Garlic and Hot Chiles

Beans are trickier than some vegetables when it comes to preserving.  They can be frozen successfully although their texture does change some in the process making them best suited for soups and longer cooking preparations.  The can be pressure canned to produce a green bean that tastes similar to one from a can at the grocery store, but they tend to become very soft and sometimes mushy in the process.  Which brings us to the water bath canner.  The only way beans can be safely canned in a water bath is if acid is added to them.  In other words, they must be pickled in some way. 

Here is where the dilly bean comes in.  Dilly beans are preserved in a vinegar solution much like a cucumber pickle would be, and there are numerous ways to flavor them.  We like them with chile and garlic which adds a nice spicy heat.  They are great eaten as a snack, served alongside meals where traditional pickles would go, in salads, on hotdogs, or as garnishes in tomato based drinks.  They are also extremely easy to make and take very little time in comparison to other similar canning projects.  

The recipe below can be altered to fit your personal heat preference.  If you like things on the spicier side, use two dried chiles and one teaspoon pepper flakes per jar.  I tend to go on the milder side of things because the older I get the wimpier I get when it comes to heat. 

Dilly Beans with Garlic and Hot Chilesmakes 5 pints
(you can also use the taller 12 oz jars if they are available)

This recipe comes from Canning for a New Generation which is an excellent canning resource with lots of interesting recipes for modern day canners.  I have only altered the recipe slightly to fit my heat preference.  If you want things spicier, double the chiles and pepper flakes that go into each jar.  One thing I find is that if small, slender beans are used they tend to shrivel over time.  This does not affect their flavor.  If you want to prevent this, use sturdier green beans for this recipe. 

4 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
3 Tbsp kosher salt
5 fresh dill sprigs
5 cloves garlic, left whole
5 dried hot red chiles
2 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed to fit in pint jars

Prepare a water bath canner along with five pint jars, lids, and rings.  In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, and salt and bring to a boil. 

Place one dill sprig, one garlic clove, one chile, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes into each pint jar.  Pack the beans into each jar.  Ladle the vinegar mixture into the jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove the air bubbles from the jars and adjust the headspace accordingly.  Wipe the rims of the jars and top with sterilized lids and rings. 

Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove to a towel to rest for 24 hours before checking seals, labeling, and storing.  Allow the pickles to cure at least one week before opening. 


  1. If you use the taller 12 oz jars, do you adjust the boiler water bath time? the 12 poz are thinner and have 1/2 cup less beans in them ... Just getting ready to start and would think I should cut back on the time or I'll have mush on my hands !

  2. When I can them I use a combination of pints and 12 oz jars, and I can tell no difference in the texture of the beans from the two jars so long as the beans in the two jars are of the same age and quality. Hope this helps.

  3. I'm wondering about the vinegar to water ratio. I don't think I have ever seen a 1:1 ratio before. Is it going to be consistently acidic enough to kill the Botulism spores?

  4. The 1:1 ratio is safe. The National Center for Home Food Preservation uses the same ratio for their dilled beans at, and they are the go-to for home preservation recipes and safety.