Dilly Beans (‘cheat’ pickles)

We love fermented foods as you know from our Easy Pickled Onions and Saurkraut recipes, and we love a dill pickle, but making really crunchy fermented cucumber pickles can be challenging. Enter the Dilly Bean.

These are super simple to make, taste surprisingly like traditional dill pickles, and they stay super crunchy, so we love them as a ‘cheat’ version of cucumber pickles.

We love doing this with carrot sticks as well – they’re like a sweet and sour dill pickle with a super crunch, and we haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t like them! You can experiment with all sorts of other crunchy veg too: snow peas, spring onions, kohlrabi, asparagus, zucchini, and heck, even cucumbers!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Green beans
  • Garlic
  • Fresh dill (the stalks work really well)
  • Black peppercorns
  • Pure salt*

METHOD:

  1. Make up a 2-3% brine. 1 tablespoon salt dissolved in 500ml boiling water. Set aside to cool.
  2. Rinse beans and dill.
  3. Peel & smash garlic.
  4. Stuff dill, garlic & peppercorns into base of a clean jar. We use 5 cloves garlic, 6 peppercorns and 3-4 dill stalks for 750g beans.
  5. Remove stalks of beans.
  6. Cut beans slightly shorter than size of jar. You want 5cm ‘head space’ above them in the jar.
  7. Shove beans into jar. Squeeze them in as tight as they’ll go.
  8. Once brine is cooled to body temp, pour over beans. Fill full so all beans are fully submerged.
  9. Leave covered with a tea towel, or with lid left ajar on bench for 3-5 days.**
  10. Once brine goes cloudy & bubbles appear on top, start tasting beans. When you like the tanginess and flavour, seal the jar air-tight and store in the fridge.

Notes:

– * Pure salt is salt that has no additives. Lake, sea, kosher, ‘pickling’, rock: they’re all pure. When measuring by volume rather than weight, make sure to use granulated salt though, otherwise the ratios will be off.

– * * If using clip-top jars like these ones from Ikea, you can remove the rubber seal and close the jar during fermentation. This gap allows gasses to escape, but minimises oxygen entering the jar, making it a nifty cheap semi-airlock system.

– If you don’t have enough beans to tightly pack the jar, use a clean glass or jar to weigh them down during fermentation. You just don’t want them exposed to air.

– Using dill stalks is great for preventing food waste, but feel free to use whole stalks with fronds and all.

– Tucking the garlic, dill & peppercorns under the beans means they won’t rise to the surface, where they could cause mould to grow as they’d be exposed to oxygen.

– These will last in the fridge for months and months, but over time they’ll become less crunchy, and may develop a slight fizz as they continue to slowly ferment.

Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy

A selection of crunchy fermented ‘pickles’. L-R: Easy Pickled Onions, Dilly Daikon Radish, Dilly Beans, Dilly Carrots