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Pickled Green Beans, AKA “Dilly Beans”

Dilly Beans (I left out the optional red pepper flakes.)

Dilly Beans (I left out the optional red pepper flakes.)

I didn’t take a bunch of “process” photos, but I made 2 pint jars of pickled green beans, AKA “Dilly Beans”. I think Dilly Beans sounds kind of silly…although, it is quicker to say than pickled green beans. Anyway, I decided to give this recipe a try, because I got some green beans on sale and they looked pretty good. Plus, I have some dill in my garden that needed trimming back. I didn’t measure my beans, but I’m assuming it was a maybe a pound to a pound and a half?

Dilly Beans

Fresh green beans, trimmed both ends. Enough to firmly pack (2) pint jars.

1/8 c. kosher or pickling salt

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled, lightly crushed

2 fresh dill heads/fronds

1 t. mustard seeds

(optional: pinch of red pepper flakes per jar)

1-1/2 c. white vinegar

3/4 c. water

Directions

Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and mustard seeds in a small, non-reactive sauce pan (like stainless steel). Bring to a boil and reserve, keeping hot. Prepare a water bath canner with enough water to cover jars by an inch or two. Prepare two pint jars, lids, and screw rings. Divide the garlic, dill, and red pepper flakes (if using) between the two jars. Trim the green beans to fit the jars vertically, leaving 1/2 to 1/4 inch space from jar’s rim. Pack the jar tightly, so the green beans won’t float.

Ladle the hot brine over the beans, trying to distribute the mustard seeds evenly. Bring the brine up to 1/4″ below the jar’s rim and covering the beans. Use a skewer or a knife to make sure there are no trapped air bubbles and add more brine, if necessary. Using a paper towel or clean cloth, wipe the threads and rim. Place a prepared lid on each jar and install the screw ring to “finger tight”. Add to boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes. Leave jars in the hot water, off heat for another 5 minutes. Remove to a kitchen towel on a counter top and leave for 24 hours. When cool enough to touch, tighten lids. If lids do not “pop” to indicate seal, store in refrigerator. If properly sealed, remove the rings and store in a cool, dark place until ready to use. (I would wait at least 2 weeks and maybe a month before opening.)

I had a little leftover brine and the bean ends that I trimmed to make the beans fit the jars, so I put them in a plastic container and let them sit on the counter for a few minutes, then I popped them in the fridge. I’ll have them as a snack in a few days.

 

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Pineapple Pickles

Pineapple pickles, left.  Grape leaf experiment, right.

Pineapple pickles, left. Grape leaf experiment, right.

I recently was playing around with trying to pickle some muscadine grape leaves. I think it was successful, but the muscadine leaves are so small, and they are difficult to handle after blanching. I wound up adding some yellow squash slices to fill the jar, plus some lime wedges and fresh dill. I doubt I’ll ever do it again, and I have no idea what I’ll do with the leaves. Maybe the squash slices will be good? Anyway, I had some leftover brine; so I decided to use it with some fresh pineapple that I had in the refrigerator.

The brine was a one to one ratio of apple cider vinegar and water, plus kosher salt. I used a cup each of the liquids and 1/8 c. salt. The pineapple was in large wedges, so I removed the core and cut into “spears”. I put the pineapple into a jar, added a few fresh basil leaves, and then covered with hot brine. I sealed the jar and processed in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. If these turn out to be good, I’ll probably experiment more and do some larger batches.

Update 5/22/15: Tasted the pickled pineapple and it was pretty good! Definitely has a sweet/sour thing going on. I’m not sure if I get the basil. I put the rest in the refrigerator  and will try it again chilled. I bought another pineapple and removed the peel and core to make tepache, a fermented Mexican pineapple drink. I only use the peel and core for the tepache, so I decided to pickle the fruit. I went with 1-1/2 cups each water and apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Added a stick of cinnamon and boiled. Removed from heat and tossed in a couple sprigs of rosemary. I packed the pineapple into 3 pint jars, divided the cinnamon stick and rosemary between the jars, added brine to a headspace of about 1/4″ and sealed. I processed the jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. I went back and tasted the brine and it was EXTREMELY salty. It may be okay for pickling…but maybe not. We’ll see. Hey, it’s just a pineapple!

Update 5/24/15: I opened a jar of the pineapple pickles that I made with the rosemary and cinnamon. Definitely strong on the salt! Then it’s sour and the rosemary comes through. I think rinsing the brine off helps with the saltiness, but it IS a pickle! It’s not pineapple in juice or syrup. I think I would warn folks and not surprise them with this one! In the future, I think I would try to back off the salt and increase the sugar (being careful to make sure the brine is still appropriate for safe pickling). The rosemary and cinnamon are good.

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Eastern North Carolina Style Cole Slaw by Bob Garner

Classic BBQ Sandwich and chips.

Classic BBQ Sandwich and chips.

Growing up in the heart of North Carolina, I was exposed to a lot of pork barbecue. Everybody has their own way of doing it and everyone has their own sauce. But there’s another necessary componant: cole slaw. Whether you’re eating your BBQ on a bun or as a “plate” with hushpuppies or corn bread, you have to have slaw. And there’s about as many recipes for slaw as there are for BBQ sauce. And I’m picky about mine. Oh, I’ll eat some kinds of slaw as a side dish. I’ve even had a pineapple-cole slaw that I liked. But if I’m eating it with or on pork BBQ…or on a hotdog  or with fried fish, for that matter, the recipe that follows is what I want! This recipe comes from a well known authority on North Carolina BBQ and it is spot on! I basically eyeballed my ingredients to make a half batch, because I’m not making it for a crowd. I wound up with enough to fill a two pound deli container. I also used dill pickle cubes instead of sweet, because I don’t keep sweet pickles or sweet pickle relish on hand. It’s still good, though, just not quite as sweet. Enjoy!  

Eastern North Carolina Coleslaw  by Bob Garner 

Half a head of cabbage, cut into pieces.

Half a head of cabbage, cut into pieces.

Bob says:This is my wife Ruthie’s recipe, and it’s typical of the coleslaw that’s served at pig pickings and fish fries along the Roanoke River in Halifax and Martin counties.“

Ingredients

1 medium-size, firm head of cabbage

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/3 cup mustard

3/4 cup sweet pickle cubes

2 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Cole slaw dressing.

Cole slaw dressing.

Keep cabbage refrigerated until ready to use, and do not allow it to reach room temperature once you begin. Remove outer leaves and core from cabbage. Cut head in half and grate fine, using food processor or hand grater. (I used the “s” blade and pulsed in the processor.) In large bowl, combine cabbage, mayonnaise, mustard, sweet pickle cubes, vinegar, sugar and seasonings. Mix thoroughly and chill for one hour before serving.

On a bun with pulled pork BBQ and some sauce.

On a bun with pulled pork BBQ and some sauce.

Combined dressing with chopped cabbage.

Combined dressing with chopped cabbage.

Makes 20 servings

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