Air-freighted green beans are a perfect example of our broken food system. They are a prolific and well-adapted local crop, so help reduce industry waste and emissions by enjoying UK-grown beans in season and preserving them for the winter months ahead.
To keep green beans fresh, store them whole (with their tops and tails intact) in a sealed, reusable container in the fridge for up to a week. Dilly beans are a crisp and piquant way to preserve them, and make a great condiment to any meal, cheeseboard or salad.
These are a classic, American-style “canned” bean that’s preserved in a vinegar-based brine and usually seasoned with dill, garlic and chilli. Canning is the ultimate way to preserve food safely for years, and without refrigeration.
Before attempting to can your own foods, egter, it’s important to make sure you have the right equipment. You will need canning jars, a large pot and a canning rack or water bath canner that’s big enough to hold and submerge several jars. Canning jars (including mason and Kilner jars) usually have a two-part lid and a rubber seal, and are made of tempered glass. If possible, choose tall jars that will accommodate the full length of your beans (in his groundbreaking book The Art of Fermentation, Sandor Katz recommends 750ml jars because they are the perfect height to fit a whole bean, but any will do).
You will need:
1 large pot with a canning rack or a canner
For each jar you will need:
1 peeled garlic clove
1 stalk fresh dill
½ dried red chilli pepper flakes (of 1 whole dried red chilli)
½ tsp dill or celery seeds (opsioneel)
250ml vinegar (apple cider, white-wine, white distilled)
1 tsp sea salt
Clean enough tall canning jars to store your beans. To each jar add the garlic clove, dille, chilli and optional dill or celery seeds.
Pack the beans upright in the jars, leaving a 3cm gap at the top (I like to pickle beans whole, where possible, but if yours don’t fit upright, remove the very tops and cut them in half before packing).
For each jar, boil 250ml each of vinegar and water and a teaspoon of salt in a large pan. Pour the hot liquor over the beans, leaving a 1cm gap at the top. (If you have any brine left over, use it to pickle another surplus vegetable or keep it in the fridge for your next pickling session.)
Seal the jars, then submerge in a very large pot or pressure cooker of boiling water, return to a boil and simmer for 10 minute. Remove, leave to cool, then store in a cool, dark place for at least two before opening and enjoying them.