Going to try Dilly Beans - questions

2ajsmamaJuly 28, 2014

I figured I'd put up a couple of lbs in 12oz jelly jars instead of pints since I don't know how quickly we'll go through these - and it's easier to find room in the fridge for a tall jelly jar than a pint. What are they good for besides Bloody Mary swizzle sticks ;-)?

Also, 1 tsp of pepper flakes for 8-9 pints (4 lbs of beans) seems wimpy (at least to DH's taste). I know you can increase the amount of dried herbs, etc. so would 1/2 tsp per 12 oz jar be OK? Or is that going to be so hot DH would be the only one to eat them?

Can this be added directly to jar (I was surprised to see the recipe called for boiling the pepper flakes with the vinegar, water and salt)? It seems to me they'd be more evenly distributed that way.

On the other hand, since I'm using smaller jars, I thought I'd add the garlic to the pot rather than trying to measure them into the jars - though I'm using minced garlic in water (not oil) not whole cloves since that's what I have. Also seems safer to boil the garlic in the vinegar (other recipes do) rather than adding whole cloves to the jars (even pints).

I thought I'd sterilize 6 jars just in case, using 2 lbs of beans (I can weigh them - is that before or after trimming?) and make up 6C of brine rather than halving that to 4C, see how many 12 oz jars I end up with since the recipe says 4lbs of beans makes 4 pints (so I'm expecting 5 jars, but don't want to pack them too tightly). I can always refrigerate unused brine - I'd rather have too much than too little. I'd put 1 Tbsp garlic in the 6C of brine (1/2 tsp = 1 clove). Opinions?

This post was edited by ajsmama on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 14:24

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What are they good for besides Bloody Mary swizzle sticks

Swizzle sticks is way down the list. Any thing you'd use pickles for. Past discussions about them list all sorts of things - added to salads, potato salads, relish trays, sandwiches, snacks, as a side dish, anyway you'd use a pickle.

The amt of peppers called for seems sufficient for most who make them. Just as with all recipes, more flavoring can always be added after opening and provides better results. Too much added up front ruins more things than it improves.

The pepper flakes are boiled with the rest of the brine to infuse their flavor. The flavor is evenly distributed that way. Adding things directly to the jar only insures UNeven flavor distribution from jar to jar. Same applies to the garlic since you aren't using cloves.

You are unnecessarily complicating the process for yourself by focusing on the amount of beans rather than the recipe. That approach only leads to errors in measurements and unsatisfactory results. The focus is the recipe instructions, not the amount of beans. If you have left over beans use them some other way, left over brine, refrigerate it.

So stick to the recipe (I don't know which one you are using) or halve it or quarter it. Don't try to alter the recipe to fit the beans. That's putting the cart before the horse.

Size jar is your choice as long as it doesn't exceed what the instructions call for. Sterilizing the jars isn't required, just process for 10 mins.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:49PM
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I'm halving the beans since I just want to try the recipe (and only have about 3 lbs of beans, some are a few days old so I figured I'd use the ones just picked this weekend).

I was trying to adjust the level of "heat" to DH's taste but can just halve the dried pepper flakes and put in the pot as per the recipe, see how he likes it. Not a problem since it will all the brine will be evenly distributed in the jars even if the flakes aren't.

But the garlic presents a problem since I'm not using pint jars and not using whole garlic cloves. If 1/2 tsp = 1 clove, recipe says use 1 clove per pint but I'm using 12oz jars, that's 3/8 tsp per jar and I don't have 1/8 tsp measure. I suppose I can just use 1/4tsp and hope it's garlicky enough.

I'm using the NCHFP recipe that calls for raw pack, sterilized jars, and 5 min process to keep them crisp. Are the beans weighed before trimming or after? Is it critical as long as I don't overpack the jars?

I'm going to blanch and freeze the 3-day old beans since DS (my bean lover) is off to camp and DD doesn't care for them. DH and I have plenty of squash to eat tonight.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dilly beans

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 3:37PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I actually DO put my hot pepper flakes in the jar (I use 12 oz. as well). I make the brine with vinegar, water, salt per the recipe. I use whole cloves of garlic, 2 per jar, 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes per jar.

Drop the garlic and pepper flakes into the jar and pack with beans until full. Don't force them, but if they slide in easily, keep packing. You'll know when you get to the one that feels like you have to force it. Take it out and you're done.

I process 10 minutes in non-sterilized jars.

I love dilly beans as a side to sandwiches, on relish trays, and yes, as swizzle sticks in Bloody Marys. I rarely make Bloody Marys though so most just for snacking. Pickles are considered a vegetable serving here!!


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:03PM
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I processed 1 smaller jar with a 1-piece lid but opened it up and stuck it in the fridge right away. 2 lbs (before trimming) filled 5 12-oz jars plus a fatter shorter "fancy" jar I think is still 12oz, with some beans left over. I could have cut them longer than 4" but some beans were pretty short or curved so I cut some shorter. Not the prettiest pack.

But 4C of brine wasn't quite enough to fill 5 jars, I had 4 jars in canner while mixing another 1/2C vinegar, 1/2C water, and 1 Tbsp salt to top that off and fill the fancy jar (#6). So I'm afraid they got soft - though that last jar is soft too. It may just have taken too long to get the canner to a boil since it wasn't simmering (I didn't measure it, but it's supposed to be 140 for raw pack). Do they really come out crisp processing for 10 min (still 140 degree water, raw pack)?

Then again, it could have been the beans were a day old (about half of them) and/or they were too small (less than the diameter of my pinkie). NCHFP says use "tender" beans - but would slightly larger (tougher) beans be better? I know freshly picked ones would be. I should have just blanched and frozen them all. With DS off at camp, we can't eat 1 lb of beans a day (not with all the squash I'm picking too).

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:18PM
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They're good IN a sandwich too. Crisp and dilly. Potato chips are also good IN a sandwich.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 8:15PM
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Well, mine aren't crisp - but I may chop them up and put them in potato salad or something.

If I had 1 more kind of bean I could have made 3-bean salad but I only had 2 kinds of beans. Maybe I'll have to add canned kidney beans!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 6:39AM
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