How to Make Home-Canned Pickled Three-Bean Salad - Easily! With Step-by-step Directions, Photos, Ingredients, Recipe and Costs

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Yield: 5 to 6 half pint jars

Click here for a PDF print version

Making and canning your own Pickled Three-Bean Salad is easy with this recipe!  You can use an ordinary water bath canner to "can" it, or refrigerate it to eat fresh.


  • 11/2 cups cut and blanched green or yellow beans (prepared as below)
  • 11/2 cups canned, drained, red kidney beans
  • 1 cup canned, drained garbanzo beans (also called "chick peas")
  • 1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1/2 cup trimmed and thinly sliced celery (11/2 medium stalks)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green peppers (or 1/2 medium pepper)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (5 percent acidity)
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon canning or pickling salt
  • 11/4 cups water


  • 1 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
  • 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).  Be sure to get wide mouth jars to fit the pickles in!  Pint size works best! 
  • 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 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)
  • 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

Pickled Three-Bean Salad Directions - Step by Step

Step 1 - Wash the fresh green beans.

Wash the beans under cool running water.


Step 2 - 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" (No, that does not make the beans want to wear a beret, "mime" or surrender quickly, it's just the name.. ).  The "Frencher" enables you to prepare a huge quantity of beans quickly!


See the bottom of this page for makes, models, prices and ordering info for bean frenchers.




In the UK, use this link:

 Step 3 - Blanch the green beans

All fruits and vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that, over time, break down the destroy nutrients and change the color, flavor, and texture of food during frozen storage. green beans requires a brief heat treatment, called blanching, in boiling water or steam, to destroy the enzymes before freezing. Blanching times for beans is 3 minutes (the duration should be just long enough to stop the action of the enzymes and kill the bacteria).

Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the green beans in the boiling water. Cover the kettle and boil at a high temperature for the required length of time. You may use the same blanching water several times (up to 5). Be sure to add more hot water from the tap from time to time to keep the water level at the required height.

Step 4 - Cool the green beans

Cool green beans immediately in ice water. Drain the green beans thoroughly (this shouldn't take more than a minute).

After vegetables are blanched, cool them quickly to prevent overcooking. Plunge the green beans into a large quantity of ice-cold water (I keep adding more ice to it). A good rule of thumb: Cool for the same amount of time as the blanch step. For instance, if you blanch sweet green beans for 7 minutes, then cool in ice water for 7 minutes. 

Drain thoroughly. 




Step 5 - Rinse the Kidney beans

Rinse the kidney beans with tap water and drain again.

Step 6 - Slice the other vegetables

Prepare and measure:

  • 1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1/2 cup trimmed and thinly sliced celery (11/2 medium stalks)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green peppers (or 1/2 medium pepper)

Step 7 - Make the pickling solution 


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (5 percent acidity)
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 11/4 cups water

in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.



  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon canning or pickling salt

Step 8 - Add the beans

Add the beans, onions, celery and green pepper to solution and bring to a simmer.

Step 9 - Cool to room temperature and refrigerate

Let the mix cool to room temperature (about 1 hour) then refrigerate to allow it to marinate for 12 to 14 hours.

Step 10 - Reheat the mix

 Heat entire mixture to a boil. Get the canner heating and make sure your jars are clean (they need not be sterile, as the canner will do that).

Step 11 - Fill the jars

Fill clean, hot jars with solids. Add hot liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids.





Step 12 - 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 15 minutes. 


Remember to adjust for altitudes and larger jars - see the table below! 

Recommended process time for Pickled Three-Bean Salad in a boiling water canner, hot pack. Process Time at Altitudes of

Jar Size 0-1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Half-pints or Pints 15 min 20 <25

Step 13 - 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 thebeans?  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...


Other Equipment:

From left to right:

  1. Jar lifting tongs 
            to pick up hot jars
  2. Lid lifter 
            - to remove lids from the pot 
            of boiling water (sterilizing )
  3. Lid 
           - disposable - you may only 
           use them once
  4. Ring 
          - holds the lids on the jar until after
          the jars cool - then you don't need them
  5. 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 will 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!


This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2006.

Reviewed May 2009.

Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

[ Easy Home Canning Directions] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]