Remember how a little while ago, I was lamenting the death of my garden, and perhaps my barely-green thumb? Well friends we’ve had a late summer resurgence, and it’s taking the form of smoky, spicy, pickled green beans! The greenish thumb is BACK!
After I cleaned out my garden and discovered my poor, sad tomatoes and my actual, literal, baby carrots (which I promptly pickled), I attempted to actually help the plants that were still living. A quick trip to Lowes for some tomato fertilizer and a bag of garden soil to stick around the bases of the tomatoes left me with….half a bag of garden dirt I wasn’t really sure what to do with. Earlier in the year, when I was feeling so positive about the garden, I had purchased a fancy bag of Botanical Interests Bean Bush Trio seeds. I had planted them– and they didn’t fare well. We ended up with leaves eaten by bugs, and maybe a few spindly beans. It sucked, I was sad. I forgot about it. The end. Until I lifed the lid of my little garden cart and found half of the bag that wasn’t yet planted! I decided on a whim to pour out the remainder of the garden soil in a little strip where the now pulled carrots once lived, and stuck the beans in. Figured it couldn’t hurt.
Well NEWS FLASH, good soil + good seeds + water + late summer heat= BEANS (I’ll catch onto this gardening thing sooner or later, until then– you’re stuck hearing me exclaim the obvious). The little plants sprouted up in a row and before we knew it, we had an actual, legit harvest of beans. And not just any old beans either– the beautifully illustrated packet on my overpriced organic beans did not lie! These babies were slender, firm, and beautiful yellow, green, and purple. Last week, we pulled a POUND of them off the plants.
The beans were looking awesome and we definitely could’ve used them in a million different ways to eat with dinner or with a salad or whatever, but I decided to pickle them! Obviously they’ll last longer in pickle-form than eating them immediately, but I am also a sucker for a pickled green bean. A little snack out of the fridge– a quick add to a cheese board, stuck in a bloody mary! I have yet to meet a pickle I didnt like.
I opted for a spicy chipotle pickle instead of a more classic Dilly Bean, because quite honestly that is what sounded great at the time, and I had all the ingredients I figured I would need without a trip to the store. Recently our local (close) grocery store has closed, leaving us in what I dramatically refer to as a food desert, but really it’s just a 10-15 minute drive to the closest grocery store. This has dramatically cut down on my impulse purchases during the workday, which I guess is good– but it’s also a huge pain in the ass. So I went with what I had on hand.
This pickle recipe is easy, (obviously) pantry friendly, and I just made quick pickles because we didn’t have more than 1lb of beans, but you can definitely can these and keep them for up to a year! They are smoky, spicy, salty and vinegary– all good pickle traits– and just begging for a Bloody Mary.
Chipotle Garlic Spicy Pickled Green Beans
makes 2 pint jars
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed
3 Tbsp canning and pickling salt (you can sub kosher)
2 C white distilled vinegar
2 chipotle chiles, whole
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
Combine 2 qts of water and 1 Tbsp salt in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice and water and set aside. Once the water is boiling, add the green beans and let cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer beans immediately to ice bath. Remove beans from ice bath and lay on a couple layers of paper towels. Set aside.
In jars, evenly distribute the garlic on the bottom and pack the jars with beans (I like the sort of hold the jar sideways to layer in the beans as tight as I can).
In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, chipotle chiles, cumin, mustard seed and remaining 2 Tbsp salt to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
Evently distribute brine into jars (for more heat, add the chile to the jar if there’s room. I left mine out). Tightly close jar. Refrigerate for a week before eating, and up to 3 months. The flavor will continue to get better the longer they are in the fridge!
To process for long term storage:
Set canning rack in large pot, place pint jars on the rack and add water to cover the jars by about 1 inch. Bring to simmer, cover and turn off the heat to keep hot.
Place dish towel flat on the counter next to the canning pot. Using jar lifters or tongs, carefully remove the pint jars and set them upside down on the dish towel to drain. Proceed with adding garlic and packing jars with green beans.
Distribute brine evenly among jars, wipe the rims with a towel and gently screw on rings until just tight (do not overtighten). Return large pot of water to boil and carefully add pint jars. Bring to a boil and start timer. Cooking time will depend on your altitude (see guide here:http://www.freshpreserving.com/altitude-adjusting.html). Turn off heat and let jars sit in pot for 5 minutes. Remove jars from pot and let completely cool. remove rings, check for a sealed lid, and pop those babies in the basement on the shelf for up to one year!