Last summer I discovered the wonderful world of canning. It’s the crafty, rewarding, and a great way to stay productive in the summer. As a teacher, I’ll admit, I get lazy and out of sync when I don’t have a schedule… Canning is on of several activities that keeps me busy and focused during long breaks from work. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new hobby or just something different to do the next time you find yourself hanging around the house being bored.
The best place to start is by purchasing the Ball Blue Book. It explains everything in fantastic detail and has a wealth of recipes. For more information, check out the Ball getting started website.
Dilly Beans was the first recipe that I tried on my own and it was EASY! My friend, Mrs. Awesome, makes these every year with her daughters. They are a coveted family treat in their household. Last year, she gave us a couple extra cans and they were gone in 3 days! Once they were gone, I knew I had to start canning if we were going to have a steady supply of this spicy pickled goody in our home. The recipe calls for 2 lbs of beans which sounds substantial at first… until you notice it only makes about 4 jars. Between MM and I, those are as good as gone in a week. That simply will not do! So, this year I decided to start with 5 lbs which yielded 12 cans. That’s way more like it!
There is absolutely no reason to deter from the genius that is the Ball Blue book nor do I see a reason to type out the recipe, so here ya go:
Below are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:
First, you need to wash and cut the beans. This is the most tedious part of the whole operation. Make sure you get rid of the stalks in particular.
I like to add the dill, cayenne pepper, and garlic to the cans before stuffing them with beans. It’s easier. It says to use a whole head of dill per can but the ones I got were huge so I broke them into thirds and it worked great. I also like using the stringy leafy bits as well as the heads.
Then stuff the beans lengthwise into the cans.
After adding the boiling liquid, you’ll want to get the air bubbles out using headspace tool. You will probably find that you may be able to stuff a few more beans in the can too…. do it!!
Seal the cans and put them in a 10 minute water bath.
I like to wait at least 4 days before diving in. It gives the flavors a chance to really sink in.