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.