Now that the Fall Season is waning and vegetable gardens have been harvested, folks are challenged with how they can consume their bounty. Perhaps you’ve experienced that friendly neighbor knocking at your door with a huge basket full of home grown vegetables hoping you can use them in your next meal. The solution is to pickle the fruits of their labor and enjoy them all winter long! Even if you didn’t plant a vegetable garden or receive veggie gifts from your friends, you can always visit your local Farmer’s Market and preserve the produce from there.
Recently, I pickled some green beans and peppers which will make perfect gifts for the Holiday Season. Below is an easy pickling recipe which will work with a variety of garden vegetables that folks are sure to enjoy!
Makes 10 pints
4 pounds of trimmed green beans (buy 7-8 lbs for perfect 4-inch pieces)
5 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
5 cups distilled water
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canning salt
for each pint jar:
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
3 or 4 strips of red bell pepper (or chopped)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or 1 small red chile pepper halved)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
Sterilize jars, lids and seals for canning and prepare the bath of water in your canner.
Have beans rinsed and pre-cut into 4-inch lengths (for regular wide mouth jars) or cut to fit into your jars leaving 1/2-inch to the top of the jar. Pack jars with the green beans leaving room for the garlic. Add the bay leaf and bell pepper to the side of the jar and pack tightly with more beans. Add the chile or crushed red pepper, mustard, dill and coriander to each jar. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the sugar, salt and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the hot mixture into each of the jars leaving 1/4-inch head space. Attach lids and rims. Processing time is 5-10 minutes in water bath.
NOTE: you can also make 1 or 2 pints at a time without doing the water bath. Just place in the refrigerator after cooling and allow to mellow for at least a week.