How to Make Homemade Pickled Green Bean (Dilly Beans) - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
This month's notes: July 2016: Strawberries have a very brief season; and the start in early April in the South, don't miss them: See your state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. And see our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals, such as strawberry festivals and blueberry festivals. Organic farms are identified in green! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions
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Making Homemade Pickled Dilled Green Beans
Making and canning your own pickled dilled green beans is one of the easiest things you can do with your green beans to preserve it for later use! Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this! It yields 8 to 9 pints.
- 4 lbs fresh tender green or yellow beans (5 to 6 inches long) - fresh, firm - not wilted, soft or overripe!
- 8 to 16 heads fresh dill (in a pinch, you can substitute 4 teaspoons of dill seed)
- 1/2 cup canning or pickling salt
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups vinegar (5%, white vinegar is best, apple cider vinegar also works well). Store brand is about $1.25 for a 64 oz bottle.
- 8 to 9 garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional) or 6 small hot peppers (optional)
- 1 Water Bath Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.). Note: we sell many sizes and types of canners for all types of stoves and needs - see canning supplies - you can also use a pressure canner.
- Quart or pint canning jars (Ball or Kerr jars can be found at grocery stores, like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, grocery stores, even online - about $9 per dozen jars including the lids and rings).
- Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
- Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.
- Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
- 1 large pot; teflon lined, glass or ceramic.
- Large spoons and ladles
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
- Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
Process - How to Make Pickled Green Beans
Step 1 - Selecting the green beans
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality green beans!
At left is a of picture green beans from my garden - it is SO easy to grow.
Step 2 - How many green beans?
It takes about 1/2 lb of green beans to fill a pint jar.
Step 3 -Wash and cut the green beans!
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the fruit in plain cold water.
You will need to cut the ends off (about ¼-inch).
Step 4 - Get the jars and lids sanitizing
The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. I get that going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars. Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap! It's also a good time to start heating up the water in the canner and the small pan of water to boil the lids.
Lids: put the very hot (but not quite boiling; around 180 F,
steaming water is fine)
water for at least several minutes. Note: everything gets sanitized in the water bath (step 7) anyway, so this just helps to ensure there is no spoilage later!)
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Step 5 - Fill the jars with green beans
Fill jars firmly with whole green beans, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Note: you can use quart or pint jars; this recipe assumes quart jars are used.
Step 6 - Trim the ends
Just take a sharp knife and cut of both ends (about 1/4 of an inch, or half the width of an average woman's little finger). Then cut them into pieces of the size you prefer, usually about 1 inch long.
Of course, if your prefer French cut green beans, you can cut the beans lengthwise instead, or you can use a "bean Frencher". The "Frencher" enables you to prepare a huge quantity of beans, split lengthwise, quickly!
Step 7 - Packing the beans, dill (and if desired, garlic) in the canning jars
Put 1 or 2 dill heads in the bottom of each pint jar (double it for
quart jars), 1 garlic clove (optional) and then the beans (placed upright
in the jars, like pickle spears). If you are using whole small hot
peppers, you will add one each jar now.
This is called "raw packing" because we don't cook the beans before packing them into the jars. Pack the jars fairly tightly, but be sure to leave 1/2 inch of space at the TOP of the jar. That is called "headspace" and is needed for expansion during heading.
Step 8 - Heat the vinegar, salt (and if desired pepper flakes) in a pot
In a pot heat the 4 cups of 5% white or cider vinegar, 4 cup of water, 1/2 cup of canning salt (or pickling salt) and, if desired to make a medium hot pickled bean, include 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you want them, and didn't use the small whole hot peppers). Heat to a boil.
Step 9 - Pour the boiling vinegar solution into each packed jar
Use a ladle or pyrex measuring cup to carefully fill each packed jar with the hot vinegar solution. Fill to within 1 inch of the top. The beans should be covered and there should still be 1/2 inch of airspace left in the top of each jar. Be careful not to burn yourself, (or anyone else - children should be kept back during this step!)
Step 10 - Put the lids and rings on
Put the lids on each jar and seal them by putting a ring on and screwing it down snugly (but not with all your might, just "snug").
Step 11 - Put the jars in the canner
Using the jar tongs, put the pint jars in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Boil them for 5 minutes. Remember to adjust for altitudes and larger jars - see the table below!
Processing time for Pickled Dilled Green Beans in a boiling-water canner.
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
|5 minutes||10 minutes||15 minutes|
Step 12 - Done
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
When can you start eating the green beans? Well, it takes some time for the seasonings to be absorbed into the pickles. Generally, that's about 2 or 3 days! Ah... the wait...
From left to right:
- Jar lifting tongs
to pick up hot jars
- Lid lifter
- to remove lids from the pot
of boiling water (sterilizing )
- disposable - you may only
use them once
- holds the lids on the jar until after
the jars cool - then you don't need them
- Canning jar funnel
- to fill the jars
Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to
make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts
for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a
plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball
Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll
never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)!
There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see
more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Pickled Green Beans - makes 8 quart jars, 16 oz each*
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2004||Source||Subtotal|
|Green beans||4 lbs||free from the garden, or $3.00 cents at a PYO||Pick your own||$3.00|
|Canning jars (quart size, wide mouth), includes lids and rings||12 jars||$8.00/dozen||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$8.00|
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Pickle mix||1 packet||$3.00 per package||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$3.00|
or about $1.08 per jar INCLUDING the jars - which you can reuse!
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning. For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings. Note that the Classico's manufacturer does not recommend reuse of their jars: see what they have to say on this page:
How to make other pickles - recipes and instructions:
- Cucumber pickles (quick process, canned)
- Refrigerator pickles (no canning required)
- Cucumber pickle relish
- Pickled beets
- Pickled dilled okra
Type of pickling method
|Jar size||0 to 1,000 ft above sea level||1,001 to 6,000 ft above sea level|
|Quick process, (raw green beans put in the jar, hot liquid poured over them)-||quart||10 min||15 min|
|Quick process, (raw green beans put in the jar, hot liquid poured over them)-||quart||10 min||15 min|
Can't find the equipment? We ship to all 50 states! Use our Feedback form!
What did I do wrong if my pickles aren't crisp or
You probably used overripe cucumbers or didn't measure the vinegar and water accurately. Of course, processin gtoo long in the boiling water bath can do it, too!
Why are my pickles cloudy?
There are a variety of possible causes for cloudy pickles:
In nonfermented pickles (fresh pack), cloudiness might indicate spoilage. Yeast growth may also make pickles cloudy or slimy. Check the pickles for signs of off-odors and mushiness of the pickles. If yeast growth is evident, discard the pickles. If these signs are absent, the pickles are (absent other problems) safe to eat.
Be sure to use a NON-metal pot - or a coated metal (teflon, silverstone, enamel, etc.) without breaks in the coating. the metal reacts with the vinegar and makes the pickle solution turn cloudy. This is the most common cause of cloudy pickles. There is no danger to these pickles, though!
Sometimes the fillers (anticaking agents) in regular table salt may cause slight cloudiness, so always use pickling salt. Obviously, if you used a packet mix (like Mrs. Wages) this should not be a problem.
Hard water might also cause cloudiness. If soft water is not available, boil the hard water and let it sit undisturbed overnight. Pour off the top portion and use it in the pickling solution.
In the UK, use this link:
It is tiring and laborious to prepare green beans for canning; there are so many of them and you do them all by hand. But wait there's a new device that makes it easy. Hmmm, actually, these devices have been around since our great-grandfather's day! Here are several different types and makes, some hand fed, some cranked: choose the one that meets your need and budget!
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