Homemade dilly beans are easy to make. And if your dill has bolted before the beans are ready to pick, you can use any favorite herbs to season them. Fennel fronds or tarragon, for instance, would be nice. And don’t worry if your beans aren’t perfectly long and straight so that they stand up evenly in the jar. The curly types look and taste just fine even though you might not fit quite so many in. Just make sure they’re plump and fresh, without blemishes. This recipe makes pickled beans for short-term storage. They’ll keep for a month or two in the refrigerator. Fish them out of the jar as a snack, in a salad, or as a condiment with meals.
• 2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
• 2 tsp dried, crumbled hot pepper
• About a half-pound garden beans, washed and trimmed at both ends
• 1 cup distilled white or cider vinegar (at least 5 percent acid)
• 2 tbsp sea salt or pickling salt
• Several sprigs of fennel fronds, tarragon or dill, cut from the tips
1. Divide the garlic and hot pepper between two clean, wide-mouth pint canning jars.
2. Lay the jars on their sides and stuff as many beans as you can inside of them.
3. In a pitcher, combine the vinegar and salt with 1 cup of water, stir, and pour the mixture into the upright jars, covering the beans but leaving a quarter-inch headspace at the top.
4. Carefully poke the herbs in, stem end down. Screw on clean canning jar lids and keep refrigerated.
Try more hot-weather treats: Read Fresh Summer Recipes: Cooking With Basil, Green Beans and Tomatoes.
Barbara Damrosch farms and whips up creative, fresh summer recipes with her husband, Eliot Coleman, at their Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. She is the author of The Garden Primer and, with Coleman, of The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook.