There is no food in my fridge more addictive than fermented dilly beans! Since the string bean season is upon us, I thought I would update this recipe so we can all be ready to pickle as we harvest.
There’s a bit of background information below, but feel free to jump to the recipe card at the end of the post and just get to work!
Click here to download my free Salt Brine Salinity Chart. It will help you make the perfect salt brine for all of your fermentation projects!
Let’s make Dilly Beans: a quick fermentation project.Jump to Recipe
Fermentation of vegetables involves creating an anaerobic and acidic environment with salt and water to preserve vegetables, herbs, and spices. This group of bacteria uses the sugars in the vegetables to create lactic acid, which is a natural food preservative that prohibits the growth of bad bacteria and mold, and enhances the flavors of the food being fermented.
This recipe offers a safe, affordable and nutritious way to preserve your summer green bean harvests for winter meals…if they make it that long!
You can actually use this basic brine for many kitchen garden harvests from asparagus to celery.
Are you new to fermentation?
There are a lot of resources out there. Some are easier and more reliable to follow than others.
I recommend Fermented Vegetables by Christopher and Kirsten Shockey, of FermentWorks. It is a well-rounded cookbook using photographs and well-tested recipes to help beginners become experts in no time.
I also recommend using The Easy Fermenter. It’s a bit of an upfront investment, but the system that seals your ferments is the best remedy to the problem of unwanted mold I have found. If you are busy, stirring or mixing your ferments daily to prohibit mold can be difficult to remember. The Easy Fermenter System simply eliminates the need to do so.
Check out these recommended items.
This post contains affiliate links to items I use and recommend. I hope you find them useful.
A Quick and Easy Dilly Bean Recipe
Lacto-fermentation, or simply fermentation, is a safe and easy food preservation method that fell out of fashion with the advent of hot water bath canning and pressure canners. While I use both for certain vegetables, the vast majority of my preserves are fermented.
It’s a quick and easy process.
Use What You Have | Selecting Ingredients
I’m going to pull together a bunch of ingredients that I have on hand to preserve a surprise early harvest of string beans using this fermented dilly bean recipe.
For any basic fermentation pickle, you must have a brine that is measured 1 tablespoon of sea salt to 2 cups of water. I make this by 2-quart batches and store remainders in the fridge, so I always have a bunch on hand for moments like this. To flavor up your pickles, go through your herb garden and cupboard for complementary flavors to the vegetable you are pickling. Here’s what I had on hand:
- a pound of string beans, washed.
- Dill seeds from my garden left from last year’s harvest.
- My Bay plant did well this year, so I picked a couple of fresh bay leaves for the recipe.
- I’m going to use an entire head of garlic, whole cloves smashed. You can use garlic to taste.
- A few small shallots.
- A grape leaf.
- Sea Salt and tap water. I have untreated well water. Make sure your water source is free of chlorine.
- 1-quart ball jar, wide mouth.
- Air-lock, fermentation weights, or a plastic lid for your mason jars.
The Pickling Process
Fill the jar.
I filled the mason jar with the string beans by laying the jar on its side and stacking the beans until full. Then, I turned the jar upright and added a few more beans to nicely pack the jar.
I slid the bay leaves along the side of the jar, gently shoved the cloves of garlic between the string beans, dropped in the shallots, and sprinkled in 2 teaspoons of dill seed. I move the contents around to get a visually appealing display of the vegetables and herbs.
Cover with brine.
I finished the project off by pouring in my brine and capping with the grape leaf.
Seal the jar.
I capped the jar with Easy Fermenter Lids. (Make sure to order the kit with the pump.) These are nice fitting lids that allow the cook to express out the excess air in the mason jar. This helps all but eliminate the risk of mold growing on top of your ferments. These were first recommended to me by a couple of members of our Facebook group when I posted my sauerkraut recipe. They are my go-to fermenters because I don’t have to worry so much about mixing or stirring my ferments daily.
Let them Rest
The pickle will sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 3-5 days. If you cover your jars with plastic caps, you’ll need to stir daily to avoid mold growth on top of your ferment. I’ll taste the beans for the level of sour beginning on day 3. When the flavor is where I like it, I’ll change the lid to a plastic lid intended for the mason jars and refrigerate. Enjoy anytime.
I think you’ll find them addictive.
Lacto-Fermented Dilly Beans
- 1-quart mason jar
- Fermentation lid lick airlock or easy fermenter
- Cool space out of direct sunlight
- 1 pound string beans clip end, remove strings if there
- 1 quart 4% salt brine make in batches 1 tablespoon salt to 2 cups water
- 1 head garlic cleaned, separated, and bruised
- 1 whole onion chopped
- 1 tbsp dill seed
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 leaf horseradish or grape helps keep beans crisp
- Fill washed mason jar with beans and then pack other ingredients in around them.
- Cover with brine solution. Shake jar to remove any air bubbles.
- Cover with fermentation lid lick an airlock or easy fermenter.
- Place in cool place out of direct sunlight for 3-5 days.
- Begin tasting for the desired amount of sour flavor at day 3. When the beans taste the way you like, cover with plastic lid made for mason jars and refrigerate.
- Serve as snacks or sides with meals. They are good for up to 1 year when refrigerated.
History of the Green Bean
When I was a kid we called this vegetable String Bean because it had a long, fibrous string that had to be pulled from the pod before cooking. Today, we call them green beans because most modern varieties are cultivated to grow without the string.
Most heirloom varieties will still have the string, so I tend to still call them string beans. If you were ever confused about the difference between string beans and green beans, now you know they are the same!
String beans are a new world vegetable grown in regions from Mexico to Peru. They were among the culinary treasures taken back to Europe when Columbus invaded the Americas.
They have been grown in Italy, Greece and Turkey since the 17th century. Today, they are enjoyed worldwide.
What distinguishes green beans from other varieties of beans is that we eat both the beans and their protective pods. They are delicious steamed and smothered in butter, or cut up fresh into a salad.
They are especially delightful fermented with garlic and dill!
If you want to learn more about the green bean, check out this article.
Green Bean Nutrition
The process of preserving foods by lacto-fermentation makes the nutritional components of the vegetable more bioavailable. The body can more easily take up the nutrition provided by fermented foods.
HIghlights of the green bean’s nutritional value include:
- They are only 24 calories per 1 cup serving.
- 30% of the the daily dose of vitamin C is in that same cup.
- 20% vitamin k.
- And 10% the daily dose of Folate.
- You can get 12% of the daily recommended dose of the trace mineral manganese from a cup of string beans.
You can ferment so much more than beans!
If you like approaching your kitchen and meal planning this way, I recommend signing up for the FREE 5-Day Food Preservation eCouse! It’s a series of 5 emails delivered to your inbox that help you learn quick, easy, safe and affordable ways to preserve vegetables, fruits, and herbs from the kitchen garden and farmers market!
Quick Guide to 6 End-of-Summer Food Preservation Techniques
The Quick Guide to 6 End of Summer Food Preservation Techniques with Recipes from Lorrie Season and Stony Ridge Farm is a 14 page eBook with 6 DIY kitchen projects to preserve the best of summer flavors for winter meals. It is a seasonal living must-have resource.
The Quick Guide to End of Summer Food Preservation includes 6 recipes using each of the basic techniques described The Traditional Methods of Food Preservation post. Lorrie Season is a learn-by-doing resource. The best way to practice traditional food preservation is to begin using the techniques at the end of summer when food is so plentiful and affordable using these safe and simple techniques. Get the eBook and use the recipes to learn how to:
- Acidify with Vinegar
- Use Oil
- Make Alcoholic Cordials
You’ve worked hard all summer in your garden, with your farm share, and managing all those farmers market hauls! Now, make sure you get to enjoy the results with these simple and safe food preservation techniques!
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They are preserved green beans where the brine contains fresh dill or dill seed.
Lacto-fermentation is the safest form of food preservation. The salt brines are inhospitable to unfriendly bacteria.