July 26, 2010

Zydeco Beans

3 lb French green beans, ends trimmed (also called haricots verts)
3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
1/3 cup pickling salt
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 head garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons dill seed
1 tablespoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Prep 6 pint jars and lids. Whisk together the spices in a small bowl. Set aside. Bring the salt, vinegar and water to a boil. Meanwhile, stuff the warm jars with the green beans. The easiest way to do this is to lay them on their sides and fill them horizontally. Drop in one or two cloves of garlic. Evenly distribute the spices among each jar. Sprinkle with dill. Lightly shake the jars to help distribute the spices. Pour the boiling liquid into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 8 minutes. Allow to pickle for one week (at least!) before opening.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:

I honestly had never had zydeco beans until I made these. I had first heard about them in a novel and they sounded great (Spicy pickled green beans? Yes, please!) but there aren't exactly a staple here in Baltimore. So of course I had to make my own. I am not 100% sure these are 100% authentic but they are so delicious. Seriously, the best pickle I have ever had. I may or might not have eaten 2 whole jars in less than a week. I'm working on my third and honestly, I was sort of hoping that my mom wouldn't like the jar I gave her so she'd give it back to me and I could eat them. Isn't that horrible? Next time I am doing two batches. Or three. Maybe more.

So, what are you waiting for? Go make these pickles! They will keep for a year on the shelf but I hardly think they will last that long. They are great as a snack or as a drink or salad garnish. You can even use the prepped French green beans that some supermarkets sell and save yourself the hassle of cutting off the ends.