Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Canning Dilly Beans
Yesterday I had a day off (whoo whoo), and so did Eric. A little end of the summer very mini vacay at home.
And what better way to spend a day off than canning…eh? (I may be able to think of a few ways…)
I’ve gotten to the point where I take pictures of everything…just in case I can use them later for a blog post. My husband will actually ask me, “Do you think you should take pictures of this?”
Now that’s love, I tell ya.
My kids just think I’m insane…I probably am.
It would not be canning season in this house if we didn’t include umpteen jars or Dilly Beans. My husband feels we need 52 jars…one a week until next summer rolls around. I don’t think we’ve ever done that many, and it’s doubtful we will this year. But I can try to humor him…right?
So, after snapping away while we prepared and canned some beans, I uploaded a pic of our pretty, bean filled jars and asked my Facebook buddies if they wanted to know how to can Dilly Beans…
and I got a huge “yes” response! (I really thought that it would be one of those Facebook posts that sat there and everyone ignored…AWKWARD!) Pleasantly surprised I was.
First, a little info on canning in general…
You will benefit greatly from a canning utensil set like the one pictured above. We got ours a few years ago at Meijer…but I am sure they have them at Walmart (which I avoid at all cost) or Target. Here is the same one we have, available from Amazon.
The funnel is used to pour boiling liquid into the jars without a mess. I will be honest…I still make one.
The head spacer tool gives you a quick gauge of how much room there is between the contents and the top of the jar. When you are canning you must leave space for the liquid to boil in the jars while processing. It is also important that your beans (or whatever) aren't crammed against the lid of the jar. This tool can also be used to rid the jars of air that gets trapped between your veggies.
A magnet is used to pick the lids out of boiling water, which is done to sterilize them, and place them on the jar.
Finally, the jar grabber…pretty self-explanatory. You NEED this to grab the processed jars out of the boiling hot water bath. If you don’t have any other tools…you MUST have this one!
Next you will need a big pot for processing your jars, preferably with a rack for lowering them gently into the boiling water bath. Again, here is an example from Amazon. I have also seen these at Bed Bath and Beyond for under $30.
A small pot of boiling water for lids.
And, for this particular recipe, a pot to prepare the pickling liquid for the beans.
Obviously, you will need jars and lids. Wide mouth pint jars are best for this recipe.
It is important that your jars are sterilized before you begin. A run in a hot dishwasher will do the trick. Unfortunately, we do not have a dishwasher. So we take turns scalding ourselves by washing them in ridiculously hot water, trying to make sure ours are as sanitary as possible, then pour boiling water over top. This is humorous to watch…trust me.
A few other things that you will need before you start canning:
Lots of dishtowels
Let’s get to the Dilly Beans!
Yeah…this is the recipe we use.
It is a copy from the Kerr Kitchen Cookbook. Which belongs to my mom, and is apparently a VERY hot commodity…because I went to buy it on eBay (it is out of print)…the cheapest one was over $20, and the most expensive was over a $100! My mom’s has a Kmart price tag on it that says $3.99! But…it is the Holy Grail of canning in this family…so…we use copies from her book.
Copies that were recently munched on by an overgrown lab/hound with anxiety issues.
The recipe as I am writing it will make 7 pints of beans. You will also notice (if you can read the original) that we double the garlic, which I tend to ALWAYS do with every recipe I make, and add a wee bit more heat with some extra pepper flakes.
4-5 pounds of fresh green beans
14 heads of fresh dill
14 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 cup of white vinegar (labeled 5% acidity)
4 cups of water
1/2 cup of pickling salt (we use kosher)
1 1/2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes.
First, you will need to wash your beans thoroughly, and drain them.
Cut them to 4 inches each. My hubby made this handy-dandy gadget for measuring beans.
We have two of them.
One for each of us.
I told you…he LOVES him some Dilly Beans…Ha!
He is also extremely anal retentive and can’t quite tamp down the hint of engineer left in him from our previous life.
Boy do I love that man, though…anal tendencies and all. Not many men will stay up half the night canning with their wives (or eat up half a day making bean cutting jigs). ♥♥♥
Now is the best time to fill your canner with water and start the heating process. We fill ours until it is about 5 or 6 inches from the top. This leaves room to drop the jars into the water bath without spillage.
Next, peel your garlic.
Gather and rinse your dill.
Place 2 heads of dill and 2 cloves of garlic in each of 7 sterilized, wide moth pint mason jars.
(In the background do you see a hint of a yummy post to come?)
At this point we start boiling water in our small saucepan for the sterilization of the lids.
Once that is heating, we move on to the pickling liquid. Pour vinegar, water, salt and pepper flakes into a large pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat as you move on to the next step.
This is my least, and possibly my husband’s favorite, part…cramming, I mean placing, the beans into jars.
You want to make sure they are even, and packed firmly together.
Be careful not to jam them in too forcefully…they break easily.
Once your jars are full…
we sit and wait for everything to boil.
By the time you are finished getting your beans into the jars, everything should be ready. But we (my husband…always blame the husband) forgot to turn on the burners…oops!
Add 7 lids to the small pan of boiling water.
Time to fill the jars…
It is good to have a dish towel underneath them if you are worried about spilling.
Fill each jar with liquid, leaving a half inch of head space…the distance between the layer of liquid and the top of the jar.
Run your head space tool (which should be non-metallic) along the sides of your jar to release any trapped air bubbles. You may need to add a bit more liquid afterwards.
Wipe down the rims and the threads around the jar with a clean towel.
Using your magnet tool, place lids on jars, directly from boiling water. (Sorry…I forgot to take pictures of this…we were at a critical point and the pressure was ridiculous…JUST KIDDING! This is soooo not hard.)
Twist your lid bands firmly in place, but not too tight.
Place your jars into the canner rack, and slowly lower it into the boiling water. IMPORTANT: The water MUST be boiling before you lower the jars in. Make sure your jars are covered by at least 2 inches of water. Cover and let process for 10 minutes. If your water stops boiling after the jars are dropped in, let it return to a boil before you start the timer on processing.
After the ten minute processing time has past, use your jar grabber tool to carefully remove each jar of beans one by one from the water bath. BE CAREFUL NOT TO TIP JARS. Hold upright!
Gently place jars on a flat surface where they will not be disturbed for 24 hours, out of any drafts which can cause jars to shatter.
You will likely hear the “pop” of your lids sealing after a short time. I LOVE that sound! It means you have successfully preserved your beans! However, if after 24 hours you have some that have not sealed, place them in the fridge and eat within a couple weeks. These unsealed jars will not keep on the shelf.
So easy! And TASTY!
on to our tomatoes…