Can I tell you how much I love pickles? Sweet, sour, half sour, pickle relish, I’m all in. I also adore olives and capers, and even mustard, which I think of as pickle-adjacent. I’m also ENTIRELY obsessed with pickled cranberries, although that’s more of a condiment or relish in my mind. However, I have to say, I’ve never made a successful batch of standard vinegar pickles. You know, the kind with cucumbers? It might be that I’m not super motivated because although I love pickles, I don’t much care for dill. And I HATE soggy cucumber pickles, which thus far are the only ones I’m able to make.
So I was thrilled, after my first batch of saurkraut a few years ago, to learn how stupidly easy and delicious fermented pickles are. We do a bunch of different kinds, here on the farmlet: carrot, daikon, and my personal favorite: French Green Beans. Since (again) I don’t love the dill, Dilly Beans have never really worked for me, but THESE, these a girl can love.
Why, you’re probably wondering, are these beans French? Two reasons: first of all, instead of dill, I season them with garlic, fresh thyme, and black pepper, a classic french combination. And secondly (perhaps most importantly): we almost always make them when Trader Joe’s has their Haricot Vert in stock. Please note, that name is just French for green beans, but is usually assumed to mean a specific kind of bean, very thin and straight.
I would actually argue that TJ’s Haricot Vert aren’t what they say at all, just regular beans that are very straight. They’re the usual thickness of a bean, not the whisper thin fancy beans one might expect. However, they ARE all neatly lined up, and the EXACTLY amount that fits in a wide mouth quart jar, which makes them perfect for this purpose. Of course, you can use any green beans. I’ve even made these with Kentucky Wonder, the world’s most perfect pole bean, and they were delicious. But it’s so fast and easy to bang out a batch of pickles with the tidy packages.
At any rate, here follows my super fast and easy recipe for delicious fermented beans:
French Green Beans
Equipment needed: One wide mouth quart jar, one small mouth canning jar lid, a small pot, measuring cup, teaspoon.
Ingredients (per single jar of pickles, recipe multiplies easily):
12 oz fresh green beans, cleaned (or one bag TJ’s Haricot Vert)
2 c water (let stand out overnight first, if you have chlorinated H2O)
1 2 inch sprig fresh thyme, or a teaspoon dried. It’s really MUCH better with fresh, though. And how OLD are those herbs in your cabinet? Perhaps it’s time to chuck them out and start over.
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper corns (or 1/2 t freshly ground pepper)
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled
If using non-TJ’s beans, wash beans, snip off the stem end, and line up in tidy rows. Otherwise, open the package :). Turn the quart jar on its side, and begin carefully filling with beans. After each handful, give the jar a little shake, which will help the beans to file into place more neatly. We’re looking for straight up and down, so that you can fit the most beans possible. By the time you get to the last few, you need to tuck them in one at a time, wherever there’s a slight gap.
Meanwhile, in your pot, warm and stir 2 cups water with the salt, pepper, bay and garlic. It doesn’t need to be all that hot, but you want to dissolve the salt. Once you can’t see the salt anymore, it’s ready to go! Pour it over the beans in the jar. Add in the bay leaves and garlic cloves, tucking them down into the beans.
Now, how full is your jar? You want the beans to be completely covered with water, and about a half inch of bean-free water floating above them. If yours isn’t that deep, because of course bean volume varies, top it up. Then drop the canning lid down on top of the beans. You’ll note that we’re using a wide mouth jar, but a narrow mouth lid: this is to keep the spices and beans down under the surface of the water. Remember, we used a weight to hold down the saurkraut, but you don’t need that for these, since you’ve tightly packed the jar with beans. They’re going nowhere.
Here’s my jars, newly filled and tucked into a spot on the kitchen counter. They’re going to take about a week to ferment, but I start tasting them on the fourth day. That was today: they still seem a little raw to me, and they’re just beginning to build a nice sour salty pickly-ness (is that a word? It is to me!). I think these will be perfect on Monday. When they’re done, pull out that little lid, pop on one that fits and stick them in the fridge. They will keep for months.
One last quick word on fermenting:
See the filmy goop on top of this jar? TOTALLY NORMAL. Often it’s a thicker layer, but I just fished a bean out of this jar. That is not mold, and the beans are not spoiling. Just swab it off with a paper towel if you’d like to gone. Oh, wait, two last words: remember, they’re done when they taste good TO YOU. That might be more or less fermented, depending on your personal taste.
Until next time,
This post submitted to Homesteading Blog Hop #23! Thanks for visiting.