The following post appeared on BAH on 14 August 2009.
A great thing about blogging is that it allows conversation between blogger and reader. Like when I tried Food In Jar’s Dilly Beans. After trying the recipe, I commented on the post about the results I got.
I said: “I wonder what I could have done wrong with the recipe. My brine ended up being overly salty even though I only used 1/4 cup. Other than that, these are lovely. The texture is crispy and snappy.”
Imagine my surprise when Food In Jars said: “What kind of salt did you use? Did you make these as refrigerator pickles or did you can them? Crazy part is, this isn’t actually even my recipe, it’s one from So Easy to Preserve, so it should be tested and reliable.
I went back and looked at the post, and in your original comment, you mentioned that you wanted to make them as fridge pickles. I’m wondering is the amount of salt needs to be reduced if you don’t hot water process pickles. Now that I think about it, all the recipes I use/know for refrigerator pickles do call for less salt. It’s probable that recipes for shelf stable pickles call for more salt because it plays the part of preservative as well as seasoning.
Now that you’ve got these salty pickles, you could give them a quick rinse before eating or chop them up and make them part of a salad (omitting much of the salt). Again, I’m so sorry that you had this problem. I admit, I didn’t notice an overabundance of salt in my batch, but I’m a notorious salt lover, so I rarely feel that there’s too much (it’s a sickness).”
See, I didn’t get some autoreply like “thank you for your comment”. She took the time to read my question and provide a thoughtful response which actually gave me some great insight as well as a new tip to try out.
Every single blogger I’ve met, and most (but certainly not all) of the ones I’ve reached out to via comments or email, seem to geniunely want a conversation with their readers. For me, that’s half the fun of it all. The other half is that I get to try my hand at things like Dilly Beans, Jacques’ Scallops, and Bittman’s Chocolate Souffle . So send those comments and questions. I promise not to answer with my mouth full.
Food In Jars, adapted from So Easy to Preserve
FIJ Notes: Wide mouth pints work great here. A 12 ounce jelly jar is also nice as it’s a bit taller than a standard pint and makes for less trimming.
BAH Note: I used a wide mouth quart jar. I did not process the beans after they were in the jar since long term storage was not my goal and the beans currently live in my refrigerator. But I’ve included the instructions on how to prep and process in case your beans can hang out longer.
- 2 pounds green beans, trimmed to fit your jars
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 teaspoons dill seeds (not dill weed)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 1/2 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup pickling salt (use a bit more if you only have kosher and will be processing your jars, use a bit less if using kosher for non processed jars i.e. fridge pickles)
Prep your canning pot by inserting a rack to keep your jars off the bottom of the pot, place jars in pot and fill pot with water. Bring to a boil to sterilize while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Wash and trim your beans so they fit in your jar.
Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. While it’s heating up, pack your beans into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace (distance between the tops of the beans and the rim of the jar). To each jar, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 teaspoon dill seeds.
Pour the boiling brine over the beans, making sure to leave 1/2 inch of headspace. Use a plastic knife to remove air bubbles from the jar by running it around the interior of the jar. Wipe the rims and apply the lids (which have been sitting in a small saucepan of water at a mere simmer for at least ten minutes in order to soften the sealing compound) and rings.
Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath (five minutes start when the pot has come to a roiling boil).
Let beans age for at least two weeks to develop their flavor.