Snap Beans

If this is your first attempt at water bath canning, I highly recommend pickled snap beans. It’s hard to mess them up: simply prepare your beans like you would to eat them fresh, heat up a vinegar brine, and pop everything in a canning jar. I find them even easier than cucumber pickles, primarily because extra prep steps and even fermenting are required to get the maximum crispness of cukes. With snap beans, crispness is guaranteed as long as you start with crisp beans. They’re also forgiving of your schedule; if pressed for time, you can harvest one day, snap the next, and process the third, keeping them in the refrigerator between steps.

When most people think of pickled beans, they think “dilly,” but it’s easy to play with the flavors. One of my favorite variations was inspired by Liana Krissoff’s wasabi-pickled beans in Canning for a New Generation. I’ve altered her flavors slightly so that I can use the horseradish that grows weed-like in my garden.
If this is your first attempt at water bath canning, I highly recommend pickled snap beans: It’s hard to mess them up. Learn to make Definitely Dilly Beans and Asian-Style Pickled Beans.

Definitely Dilly Beans

  • Servings: 7 pint jars
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Print
3-1/2 pounds green and/or yellow snap beans
5 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
5 cups water
1/4 cup pickling or kosher salt
3-1/2 teaspoons whole peppercorns, divided
7 cloves garlic, peeled
7 dried chilies
7 dill heads

Briefly wash the beans; snap off the ends, and then snap each bean so that it is 4 inches long, reserving any smaller pieces for fresh eating. In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, and salt. Heat the mixture until it just boils; stir to ensure the salt has dissolved.

Grab one hot pint jar at a time with a potholder and hold it at a 45-degree angle. Add 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns, 1 clove garlic, 1 dried chili, and 1 dill head to the jar. Pack in the beans so that they will be vertical when you set the jar upright. Ladle the hot vinegar brine over the beans, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; if any beans stick up into the headspace, snap off the top ends until they are submerged in the brine. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, plus your altitude adjustment. Makes about 7 pint jars.

Tips & Tricks
  • I find green snap beans and yellow wax beans work equally well for pickling. Just be sure they are old enough that they make a snapping sound when broken but not so old that they are tough.
  • You want your beans to be about 4 inches long so that they fit properly in the jar. You can add any stubby bean pieces to the jars as well, but I prefer my beans long so that they are an ideal garnish for Grilled Tomato Bloody Marys; Definitely Dilly Beans and Asian-Style Pickled Beans work equally well.
  • Dill is easy to grow, so you should consider adding it to your garden. In a pinch, you can use 1 teaspoon dill seed in each jar instead.
  • For those who love the heat, 1/2–1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes will turn up the dial. We’ve also used our home-smoked and dried chipotles to great effect.
  • Vinegar-brined pickles need a couple of weeks to absorb their flavors.

Twice as Tasty

If this is your first attempt at water bath canning, I highly recommend pickled snap beans: It’s hard to mess them up. Learn to make Definitely Dilly Beans and Asian-Style Pickled Beans.I’m a fan of Asian flavors, so when I saw Krissoff’s wasabi variation, I knew I had to try it. But real wasabi is hard to come by and even harder to grow. Check the label on the wasabi in your Asian food section; most options might have a bit of Wasabia japonica mixed in but are primarily horseradish with a bit of green dye for effect.

So rather than buy powdered horseradish, which just ends up as sludge in the bottom of the jar after a few months, I’ve been harvesting homegrown horseradish for these pickles. If you want to try both the Asian and the Dilly Bean versions in one go, I recommend doubling up on your bean harvest and running two full canner batches. You already have the water going, and your friends will thank you.

Asian-Style Pickled Beans

  • Servings: 7 pint jars
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Print
3-1/2 pounds green and/or yellow snap beans
5 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
5 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
3-1/2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns, divided
7 cloves garlic, peeled
7 dried chilies
7 slices horseradish
14 slices fresh ginger

Prepare your snap beans as you would for Definitely Dilly Beans, snapping them into 4-inch pieces. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, and soy sauce, heating the mixture until it just boils.

Grab one hot pint jar at a time with a potholder and hold it at a 45-degree angle. Add 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns, 1 clove garlic, 1 dried chili, 1 slice horseradish, and 2 slices ginger to the jar. Pack in the beans so that they will be vertical when you set the jar upright. Ladle the hot vinegar brine over the beans, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; if any beans stick up into the headspace, snap off the top ends until they are submerged in the brine. Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes, plus your altitude adjustment. Makes about 7 pint jars.

Tips & Tricks
  • I love the flavor Szechuan peppercorns bring to Asian recipes, but if you don’t have them you can substitute any whole peppercorns.
  • If you’re buying horseradish, buy an extra root to stick in a pot or the ground; you’ll never need to buy it again.
  • As with Definitely Dilly Beans, let these pickles rest a couple of weeks before you pop open a jar. They’re a great side for any Asian meal, and I’ve been known to tuck them into my maki rolls on a midwinter sushi night.

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2 thoughts on “Snap Beans

  1. Kim Romero

    I’ve been dying to try canning for years and have never had the courage. I think I might actually try these this summer!

    Like

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