Dilly Beans: A Real Pickle

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You can watch Nana make these for you on the video page.

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Everybody loves these tasty beans that live in vinegar with the seeds of two very popular plants: an herb called dill and a pepper called chili. Well, that is a very funny name because a chili pepper doesn't make your mouth chilly at all. It makes it hot!

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To make not chilly dilly beans, first we need special jars so we can save some for next week. We need Canning Jars that look like this: 

Their size is one quart. It would be good to have 3 jars so we can give one away to somebody special and still keep two. Two is gonna disappear fast because you are gonna love eating these! And they're healthy too!!

Ready to get into a real pickle? For every jar we are going to need two big handfuls of beautiful green beans. To fill three jars, we need to have everything on this list.

  • 2 pounds of fresh green beans, sometimes called snap beans or Blue Lake or Kentucky wonder
  • 6 large cloves of a garlic bulb,  cut in half. Take their paper coats off, please
  • 3 tablespoons of dill seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed chili pepper seeds, put in a tiny bowl
  • 2 1/2 cups of plain white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups drinking water
  • 1/4 cup of Kosher Salt, also called Pickling Salt (Don't use regular salt: that would be an OOPS!)

Okay, first we have to pinch the little stem off every bean, then wash it clean. Next we have to cut all the beans so they fit into the jars. Hmmm...how to do this? Well, put one jar on its side on the table and lay one bean flat next to it. Now cut that bean to be just a teeny weeny bit smaller than the jar. Got it? Cut it so it will not stick out when it goes in. Okay, now you cut all the other beans down to that size. Don't quit until they all fit!

Next we have to put our jars in a hot bath so they are super clean. We need to fill a very big pot, bigger than the jars, with water, put just our glass jars in without their lids (like taking a bath without washing your hair) and heat that water until bubbles come. And steam rises! That means the jars are mean clean. We have to take them out of the bath. You're going to need help with this because it's hard and very hot. Make sure you have long tongs or forceps.

 

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We're ready to pickle! Put four of the garlic clove halves into the bottom of the jar. Put in 1 tablespoon of the dill seeds and 1/3 of the chili pepper seeds. Now fill each jar with your cut green beans. Squish and squash to get a lot in and try to keep them all going one way so the jar will look pretty. Just squish and squash til there's no more space to place a bean.

Okay, back to the stove. In a medium size pot with a long handle, put the vinegar, water and salt. Stir it up to make the salt disappear. Heat it up until it is very clear and has bubbles. This means it is "boiling" and that's what we need. Now comes the hard part: we need to get that boiling vinegar into each jar, almost almost to the top so not one bean is left out of the pickle. I say we do it with a soup ladle, slowly slowly fill 'er up..

Now quickly put the lids on the jars. The lids have two parts: the flat part goes first, after comes the screw part that locks it on.  Screw that part as much as you can to make the flat part tight. Almost done. We have to put those jars back into the bath pot. The bath pot has to be hot, very hot with bubbles that tell us it's boiling. The bath water has to be over the top of every jar. We are going to make sure are beans are very clean with no mean things inside to make us sick. We are going to give these jars a very hot bath for 20 minutes. Set your timer, okay? 20 minutes in the hot bath pot. 

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Take them out . Listen for the happy Pop! It means the lids sealed. Our beans are clean and cozy in the jar where nothing bad can happen.

We're done! Except you can write your name on a label to tell people you made these dilly beans.