How to Can Dilly Beans

by heather

Have you ever had pickled green beans?

They are delicious. And know what else?

At least where I’m at, green beans are in season. Big time. This means: Dilly Beans!

I was at Farmer’s Market on Sunday and they were everywhere. Stacks and stacks of yellow and green beauties were piled on tables everywhere.

So, I bought 6 lbs and canned them Sunday night.

Canning green beans is not only a great way to bring summertime to cold winter days, but it’s always a very frugal way to take advantage of cheap summer beans.

Here’s the recipe, as usual, from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

How To Make Dilly Beans

Makes about 6 pint jars


  • 3 tbsp pickling or canning salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1/4 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into jar-sized pieces
  • 2 1/4 lbs yellow beans, trimmed and cut into jar-sized pieces
  • 3 small red bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 18 whole black peppercorns
  • 6 sprigs fresh dill
  • 6 cloves garlic

1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.

2. In a large stainless steel saucepan combine salt, vinegar and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve salt. Add green and yellow beans and red peppers. Return to a boil. Remove from heat.

Important Note: I had more than the 4.5 lbs of beans the recipe called for. So, I had to make more brine. But it’s super easy to make more brine; all you do is add “one” of everything from the first three ingredients. Right now, you need 3 T salt, 3 c vinegar, and 3 c water. I bumped it up to 6 to be safe, which means I made a brine with 6 T salt, 6 c vinegar, and 6 c water. I’m really glad I made so much extra, because I used almost all of it.

3. Place 3 peppercorns, 1 sprig of dill, and 1 clove of garlic in each hot jar. Pack beans and pepper strips into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 in. of top of jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into to jar to cover everything, leaving 1/2 in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if you need to, by adding more liquid. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar, and screw band down until fingertip-tight.

Sidenote: I did add a sprinkling of dill seeds to each jar, simply because I love the taste of dill and wanted them to be really “dilly”.

4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they’re completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool, and store.

The End Result…

So how’d they turn out? Well, just look at those green bean beauties!

Important Tips

So, there ARE a few things I learned the hard way…

Important Lesson #1: Putting Boiling Hot Beans Into Boiling Hot Jars is Not My Idea of a Good Time

Your fingers are going to get burned here. This is why my jars don’t feature stick-straight, vertically-stacked beans. Getting them into perfect formation is near impossible when they just came out of boiling hot brine.

What’d I do?

Using a pair of tongs, I grabbed one bunch at a time and put them in a berry bowl. I quickly let the hot brine drain off (back into the pan, of course), and then I used those beans to stuff the jar with. Yes, they were hot. I quickly gave up on striving for Martha Stewart perfection, and settled with throwing them in the jar and then stuffing them down with a fork while trying not to cry.

Once you get down to the last couple jars, the beans will have cooled down enough to make it bearable. But those first two jars?

Just, beware.

Important Lesson #2: Beans Are Full of Hot Air

You want to make sure you don’t skip the important step of removing the air bubbles. I was a bit lax about this. I sort of just poked and prodded the beans in a negligent way while nursing my sore fingers.

As a result there are many, many air bubbles in my jars.

I have no idea if this will ultimately ruin my dilly beans are not (regular canners: any ideas/tips about that?). But because the way the beans are all packed willy-nilly in these jars, there’s going to be a lot of air. So stab a wooden spoon handle down in there to get as much out you can.

Last Word…

So, in spite of the sore fingers you’re sure to get from this recipe, is it worth it?

Absolutely. The beans are crisp and delicious, and they look so pretty sitting on my basement shelf! And since beans are in peak season right now, canning them is a cheap way to make sure you have some summertime wonderfullness when the snow is falling this December.

Really, the finger deal isn’t that bad. I didn’t get blisters or anything. And I’m definitely making another 6-7 jars of dilly beans next weekend, so the pain is more than worth it! 🙂


{ 2 trackbacks }

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July 29, 2010 at 1:10 pm

{ 1 comment }

RenaissanceRonin July 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm


Beans are more than just full of hot air…

In fact, I know a song about it…

“Beans, beans, the musical fruit…” C’mon join in! I know you know it too! It’s a catchy little ditty… Ah… never mind.

It sounds like a great way to eat something that some kids avoid like the plague. I wonder if MY little terror would eat them? If I only knew someone that had the time to sit down and “Dr Science” their way thru their production…

Man, I sure wish I knew someone like that…

I sure hope they don’t taste like homemade “Pickled Watermelon Rinds…”

I hear those are brutal! 😛

And, you can do a “Martha Stewart” and show off your collection as “Home Decor”! Wow! Who knew?

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