Last Thursday, the nice folks from Philly Foodworks dropped off my September share of goodies. The box contained a little bag of spring mix, 12 ounces of perfect green beans, one hefty eggplant, a tiny watermelon, both hot and sweet peppers, half a dozen ears of corn, a bundle of sweet corn, one giant heirloom tomato, six multigrain bagels from Metropolitan, and a bottle of sweet and spicy hot sauce.
Despite the utter chaos of the weekend (a family wedding, loads of visiting cousins, my mom in town, and my mother-in-law’s on-going health issues), I managed to cook, process, and preserve a goodly amount of the bounty in the box and I can feel how my future self is already appreciative.
I combined the sweet and hot peppers with a head of garlic, some ginger, and a salt brine and it’s on the countertop turning into hot sauce as I type. I made a trio of easy salads with the corn, spring mix, eggplant, and tomato.
My mom and I split the watermelon, each taking a half and digging in with spoons (though I did save the rind for pickling). And with three people in the apartment, the bagels certainly didn’t last long.
That leaves us with the hot sauce, swiss chard and the beans. I’ve been dribbling the hot sauce on scrambled eggs. The chard leaves are destined for a pot of soup, while the stems will make more of these pickles. And the beans are also on their way to becoming pickles. One of my favorite pickles, in fact.
I hinted at these pickles last fall when I gave away a short stack of preserving books. The bones of the recipe comes from the wonderful book Fermented Vegetables, though I’ve scaled it down (as I so often do). It ends up being an easy, adaptable pickle that stays super crisp, is effervescently tart, and just happen to have all those gut-friendly bacteria swimming about.
Make as big or as small a batch as you want. Just make them! And look for the hot sauce recipe next week!
Single Quart Fermented Dilly Beans
- 1 quart filtered water
- 2 tablespoons very finely milled sea or pickling salt
- 12 ounces green beans
- 4-5 garlic cloves peeled and gently crushed
- 1 tablespoon dill seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes or more for a spicier pickle
- Combine the water and salt in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well so that the salt dissolves into the water.
- Wash the beans and snap off the stem end.
- Place the garlic cloves, dill seed, and red chili flakes in the bottom of a clean, wide mouth quart jar.
- Pack the beans into the jar above the spices and cover them with the brine.
- Set a weight on the beans (clean stones, pickle pebbles, or a quarter pint jar will all work). For this batch, I used a Kraut Source, but whatever your favorite fermenting set-up will do.
- Set the jar on a small plate and tuck it into an out of the way spot that doesn't get direct sunlight and is neither too hot or too cold. I just keep mine on the kitchen counter.
- Let the pickles sit for about a week and then taste one. If you like the level of tang, then they are done. If not, let them sit a bit longer. I find that they are best when the beans have faded in color a bit and take on a uniformly drab olive color.
- Once you like where they are, remove whatever pickling apparatus you set up, put a lid on the jar, and pop it into the fridge.
- They'll keep for months in cold storage.
Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with Philly Foodworks. Once a month, they give me one of their CSA boxes so that I can cook my way through it and share how I use and preserve the ingredients. You can find more about this partnership here.