Help! I have too many green beans

This is not a serious SOS situation.  I am more than delighted to be buried in green beans–really. But while hubby keeps bringing in bowls-full of the nearly perfect green gems, I am caught, once again, to find ways to preserve them.

Celebrating green bean season hasn’t always been the case. Ask any of my six siblings about “it’s time to pick the beans,” and will you hear a very loud groan. Mom and dad had a family of seven mouths to feed(nine including theirs), and they did it by growing a large garden on their ample lot in a Milwaukee County suburb. Every summer there were always too many rows of green/wax beans, and it was up to the kids to pick every plant clean of beans. I remember the chore consisting of uncomfortable heat, bugs and sore knees. My memory is very reliable since all of my siblings remember it the same way; the collective groans prove it.
Well, a bad memory of a childhood chore didn’t scare me away from growing beans; I made my kids pick them(I had to pass the joy to the next generation). And now my hubby picks them.  He picks them, and I have to figure out what I am going to do with them all. I started out freezing, moved to pickling and then back to freezing.

Freezing Green Beans

Wash your beans thoroughly and snap-off the stem ends. I like to leave my beans whole because they just look prettier that way(less like canned).

The tested and recommended way to freeze beans is to throw them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and then transfer to a bowl of cold water and ice. I used that method in the first freeze and then no blanch in the second freeze. Blanching your vegetables halts the enzymes and retains the color and integrity of the vegetable. I’m bucking the trend, and  I’m going to find out if blanching is necessary or not.

 Spread them single layer on jelly roll pans, lined with parchment paper.  Dab the extra water off with a towel. Place pans in freezer and allow to freeze eight hours or more.

Remove from freezer and transfer to freezer bags or vacuum sealed bags. I’ve labeled the bag with the month and year and also identified it as not blanched.  I’ll get back to you on those results.

Pickling Green Beans(endearingly referred to as, Dilly Beans)

In this photo you see dill, Apple Cider Vinegear, 3 pounds green beans, garlic cloves, picking salt, water, crushed red peppers and peppercorns.  
Sanitize six wide-mouthed jars and collars in the dishwasher or by hand.  
Start the hot water bath on high heat.

Divide the heads of dill, garlic, red pepper flakes and peppercorns between the jars. Pack the beans by squeezing into a tight bunch before pushing them down inside.  It helps to have cut the beans down to the size of the jar; the packing goes a lot faster.
Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil.  Place your lids in a small kettle filled with water and bring that to hot but never boiling on the smaller burner. It gets a little chaotic here: The bath needs to be boiling, your brine needs to be boiling and your hot lids are just hanging out in the back. Pour the brine into each jar, leaving a 1/2 inch from the top. Remove any air bubbles or pockets by pressing down with a plastic spoon. Wipe each top and then quickly pull the lids out of the water with a tong and and secure each with a lid and a collar. Carefully place each jar on a canning rack and submerge the rack into the water with tongs very carefully. Leave in the bath for 10 minutes and remove the jars very carefully to a heat-resistant board. Am I over-stressing “carefully?”  You bet I am.  I have a burn on my abdomen from when I had a mis-hap with peach preserves. 
Hello, dilly bean goodness.

Dilly Bean Recipe/s

My first batch was with a recipe from the following blog: http://www.mrswheelbarrow.com/2011/06/a-dalliance-with-dilly-beans/

The other recipe was taken from Cooking Light/August 2014.  I combined them both and made the recipe my own, of course.

Ingredients

4 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
3 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
6 garlic cloves
3 pounds wax or green beans, trimmed
18 fresh dill sprigs(I only used a head in every jar)
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon(roughly) peppercorns

Directions
1. Combine vinegar, 3 cups water, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
2. 1 garlic clove in each of 6 (1-pint) hot sterilized jars. Divide beans, dill sprigs, red pepper flakes(1/4 tsp), 3-4 peppercorns among jars.
3. Divide hot vinegar mixture among jars, filling to 1/2 inch from top. Remove air bubbles; wipe jar rims. Cover with metal lids; screw on bands.
4. Process in boiling-water bath for 5 minutes(I did 10). Remove jars from water bath; cool completely, and check for proper seal (see Note below). For best flavor, allow 3 weeks before eating. Store in a cool, dark place up to 1 year.
Note: Remove jars from canner, placing on a towel. Let jars stand at room temperature 12 to 24 hours. Press center of each lid; lids should not flex or “pop.” Remove bands; gently try to lift lid with gentle pressure. If lid stays on, you have a good seal.

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