Call me lazy, but I just cannot get into the whole canning thing. With all of the produce that is starting to take over our garden (yippee!), I really should be canning. Before I know it we are going to have a basement lined with extra fridges and freezers so we can store this stuff somewhere. Nic and I planted 3 smallish rows of green beans this year and those babies are growing like CA-razy! We picked them at the perfect time this past Friday evening. It’s definitely easy to lose track of time and let those beans grow a little too long, but we got these when they were perfectly ready. Not past due.
It’s been so long since I’ve done the whole canning process and since I’m not mentally or equipment-ally prepared for that yet, Nic and I attempted to make dilly beans this past weekend, fridge style. I did a little researching around for a tasty looking recipe and found it here: In the Garden online. Check it out.
So if you are interested, follow the recipe. We used 16 oz jars, which I believe are a bit smaller than what was used in the post linked to above. We also had SO many green beans that we multiplied that recipe so we could fill 12 jars with the dilly, garlicy, oniony, spiced up goodness. It actually surprised me how many beans could be squished into the jars, along with the other ingredients. We had picked a medium sized metal bowl and a plastic grocery bag FULL of beans. The only thing you’ll have to do if you also choose to use 16 oz jars is we trimmed the length of the beans a bit after they were blanched so they wouldn’t be too tall for the jars. The extra ends, we threw in the freezer to steam up later for a side dish.
If you make your dilly beans or even if you don’t and decide to freeze your mountains of green beans for “fresh from the garden” access throughout the winter, be sure to blanch them first. Typical blanching time for green beans is about three minutes, although this recipe called for only 30 seconds. Blanching kills bacteria, stops enzyme action which can retain flavor, and locks in the beautiful color. So boil that water, toss in your veggies, let them blanch, and then throw them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Now they are freezer ready!
Want to spice things up a bit? We decided to make 4 of our jars mildly spicy, 4 medium, and 4 HOT! We just added more of the red pepper flakes to the medium and hot jars. If you have hot peppers growing in your garden right now, give them a little chop chop and throw them in the jars instead of the red pepper flakes. Yum!
What have you done with your garden produce this summer to preserve for the winter? We want to hear your ideas!
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