I had quite the simple plan for Saturday – get up early, hit market, buy up a bunch of green beans and head home to pickle them. Only by the time we got to market at 8:30 Saturday morning, I was hard pressed to find any green beans. It’s August. I know they are in season and if I had only listened to my husband and planted pole beans like I usually do, I wouldn’t be in this predicament. Oh well, next year. This year, since I’m already buying tomatoes from local farmers for canning (yes, I’m complaining about the squirrels yet again, although to their credit, they have seriously chilled out, which may or may not be related the food I’ve been throwing at them out the back door they keep attacking), it wasn’t that much of a step to buy green beans for pickles. And I’ve had a number of requests for them this year.
At any rate, Double H farm came through with the beans and so I gladly headed home to hunker down to spend my weekend pickling and recovering from pickling by the pool.
When I took the class where I learned to can, we sampled these green bean pickles and the recipe came in the packet we took home from the class. I liked them and since then, have made them almost every year, generally about the point where we can’t give green beans away anymore and we’re pretty tired of eating them ourselves. Not that we eat alot of the pickled beans, but we know plenty of folks that love them and will stand there and eat the whole jar within minutes of opening it. Last year, I experimented with Leni’s lemon basil in the beans and the response was overwhelming that I should ONLY use that basil in them. So I planted my own this year. Definitely put it your list of plants to consider for next summer’s garden. As someone who is very conscious of where all our food comes from, I love the citrus zest this plant adds to any dish and that it keeps it very local indeed. I especially love it in my homemade tartar sauce. And in Caprese salad? Seriously, seriously divine.
I put up 14 jars of pickled green beans on Saturday and after soaking all night Saturday (in a punchbowl I decided could do double duty instead of buying myself a new glass mixing bowl and saving myself some cash), and simmering all day Sunday, I yielded 13 jars of watermelon rind pickles. The weather cooperated for pool time on Saturday, but Sunday, as I loaded the car with a gaggle of neighborhood girls, we heard the rumble of thunder and of course raindrops started falling…. which meant I ended up with a squealing basement full of little girls, their sisters and their cousins until dinner last night. And the power didn’t go out with this rain, which is something slightly unheard of around here. Although I’m pretty sure the gaggle of girls would have had a great time anyway.
Last year I posted my watermelon rind pickle recipe and this year I thought I’d share my green bean pickle recipe. I know the original recipe was in an unnamed magazine article by Andrea Chesman, dated 1996. I’m not sure if this recipe was in any of her cookbooks or not. She suggests using tarragon or dill instead of basil as well. I suggest lemon basil.