Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's 9 PM. Better pickle some green beans.

After Nora hits the hay, like most moms out there, I've got to decide how to spend the next few hours.  I usually run through about 15 things I need to do:  grade discussion posts, wash the floor, get an early start on the laundry, alphabetize my wardrobe...

I think I'm like most of you: there's this window that opens at night, a solitary, magical one that's hard to close even when the hour gets too late.  I saw that window open, and I decided to try canning some of the green beans that have been filling grocery bag after grocery bag since those little purple flowers decided to sprout edible offspring.  (The whole concept is amazing, don't you think?  First you have a plant, and then the plant makes food you can eat.  Amazing.)  I was recently talking to a writer about creating another world, how much we love entering some other space--one where the rules bend gravity, distort the flora and fauna so they can speak or shine, but when I walked out in the night tonight with a pair of scissors in my hand looking to snip a few stalks of dill for the green beans, I entered that other world right here.  Dusk.  Fireflies.  Moon rising over trees.  Sound of cicadas.  Dill.  We live in one wild and beautiful world.  I think I'm going to make Nora stay up later.  She shouldn't miss this.  

Anyway, here's the book I've been using of late. 

This truly is a great book.  All the recipes use the water bath canning method, so you don't have to worry about blowing a hole in your roof with one of those pressure canners.   Plus, she works in small batches, so you probably already have the pans and whatnot to get the job done.  From the pickled radish to the cucumber relish, everything I've tried out of this book has been amazing.  She has a young daughter, too.    And I love that she wrote a book about something she loved doing and the book turned right around and supported her love for canning and being with her daughter.  Anyway...

You need otherworldly dill and kosher salt.  Fresh green beans cut to fit the pint jars.  Hot pepper.  Garlic.  Brine.

One thing about canning, you've got to be precise.  When the book says, "2 pounds of trimmed green beans," you'd better make sure you've got 2 pounds--no more, no less.  Even the size of the jars you use matters.  Don't think you can make bigger batches using quart jars.  The amount of time they have to process has been determined based on the size of the jars.  In short, canning is easy and safe as long as you follow the instructions.  Don't let green beans be the death of you.

I can't show you the pictures of me packing the jars because you have to be fast, faster than photography.  I actually used some of the moves I learned watching "The Bionic Woman."

And here they are:  Late Night Otherworldly Window Pickled Green Beans.  Come on over and try some with me.  Seriously.


  1. That made me think, "It's 10 pm. Do you know where your green beans are?"

    ...I think it's a sign that my late-night window is overdue for some closing. :)

  2. It's 4am and I can't sleep. Can I sneak some green beans? I stepped through my otherworldly door, but it just lead to the sofa and a bowl of Lucky Charms. It's like you get what you get, ya know?

  3. I will definitely have to come. And my family is coming on Sunday. I really want you to meet my mother, if only briefly!

  4. Your life looks so full over the past week! Praying it's a filling full and not a draining one.

  5. I love how this is more than just canning green beans. It's a story. It's an adventure. And to be completely cliche, I bet they taste out of this world! :)