Dilly Beans: My First Foray into the Wonderful World of Home Preserving

by Sarah on September 22, 2009

Beans! Beans! The magical fruit! The more you eat, the more you…oh, never mind.

As you can see by this photograph, beans are abundant in the city of Sacramento. And cheap. I’ve also been wanting to jump into the world of canning and know that pickling is probably the easiest way to start. Dilly beans it is.

Hit up your local market. Late in the day if possible–I got 4 pounds of beans and a huge bag of little hot chilies for 4 bucks. A bargain.

A book such as the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is extremely helpful for the beginning pickler/canner/preserver. I got some recipes on the internet, but the book is where it’s at. It’s only about $15 on Amazon.

As you can see, you don’t need many ingredients.

Follow the books’ instructions on preparing the jars and lids.
Wash and cut the beans to the length of the jars.

Drop your seasonings into the bottom of the jar. For this batch, I used a garlic clove, mustard seed, fresh dill and one of those little hot chilies.

Stuff in seasonings first, then your raw beans. I only used green beans, but you can do part green, part yellow wax, or part purple.

When all the beans are packed in there, fill the jars with your vinegar solution.

“Process” them in the canner apparatus of your choice—this means put them in a pot on some sort on a rack, put a lid on, and boil the heck out of them for 15 minutes. When done, turn off the heat, lift the lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Try not to tip them when you take them out to cool.

Delicious as part of a pickle plate, in potato or macaroni salad or in a bloody Mary.

Also delicious out of the jar when you get home from work at 5 p.m and you’re starving to death.

-adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving-

Dilly Beans


  • 3 Tbsp. kosher or pickling salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 lbs. green beans
  • 6 skinny Thai chilies
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 sprigs fresh dill
  • 6 Tbsp. mustard seed


  • Prepare jars and lids for a boiling water canner.
  • Combine the salt, water and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low to keep hot.
  • Wash and trim beans to 4 inch lengths. In each hot jar, add one chili, one clove garlic and one head of dill. Place beans upright in jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Fill jars with hot vinegar solution, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Makes about 6 pint jars.

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