Come the middle of July, when I see cucumbers, green beans, and fresh dill at the farmer’s market, I always buy extra to make dilly beans and pickles. I think dilly beans are a New England tradition, although I’m not positive. They’re just green beans pickled like you would a cucumber. I saw them in a specialty food store once, albeit a tourist trap, for $5+ for a pint! I knew I could make them more cheaply at home.
It never fails that the night I want to make pickles it’s always hotter than heck outside. Just turning on the stove top means a line of sweat on my brow. But no matter, once I eat these babies, it will all be worth it!
This recipe is for refrigerator pickles, so canning isn’t necessary. And I give all recipe credit to my good friend (and reader!) Deb Allen, at whose house I happily munched on homemade pickles one late and dark January night over Scrabble and knew I had to get the recipe. So you can make these year round or whenever you want a taste of summer!
The recipe is easy and I vary it with whatever vegetable I’m using. Take 1 ¾ cup of apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of water with 1/2 tablespoon of coarse salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. While that is happening, take your glass jar (I keep old spaghetti sauce jars just for this use, but any large glass jar will do.) and add 2 teaspoons of black peppercorns, several cloves of garlic chopped in half, lots of fresh dill, 5-8 dried chili peppers (or less, depending on how you like the heat–and these are also the small ones, a couple of inches in length), and add either your cucumbers or green beans. I always find it like a puzzle, trying to fit everything neatly in the jar. When the vinegar mixture is ready, pour it over the veggies and let it sit on the counter until it is cool, cover, then refrigerate. I find the four cups of liquid is just about enough for two jars. Have them sit in the fridge for a few days, then open them and you are going to have a zippy combination of vinegar, garlic, and hot peppers with a crispy bean or cuke. I never measure aside from the vinegar, so I’m always trying to tweak them toward a better flavor; should I use more dill or less dill, less garlic, more chilis or less? This summer I think I’m going to try pickling squash and some onions!
What’s best about this recipes is there are virtually no calories so you can eat guilt-free to your heart’s content! I recently read a German study where vinegar makes you lose weight, or something along those lines. I guess I’m ahead of the game!