Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Mess of Green Beans

LUCY BURDETTE: We've had a big problem in our house this summer: way too many green beans.

Of course I put the problem out to my Facebook friends. And got some amazing recipe suggestions back, ranging from Asian style to good old-fashioned southern green beans cooked a long time with bacon (I think that might have been Kathy Reel,) and, I was reminded about how delicious pickled green beans are. 

One of the best Bloody Marys I was ever served used green beans as the stirrer for the drink. (I like interesting items in my Bloody Marys, especially olives, pepperoncini, and pickled green beans or okra. The night I got one with a shrimp on a skewer, I thought maybe they had gone off the deep end.) 


This recipe for pickled dilly green beans is an easy one, but the results need to be stored in the refrigerator. If you want to put some by for the winter months, you would need to cook the jars of beans in a boiling water bath. Don't fool around with this, as I would hate to see friends done in by botulism!


4 1/2 cups of green beans

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups water

5 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons kosher salt

Four large heads of dill

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

Two cloves of garlic

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or two hot peppers

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a sauce pan and simmer until the ingredients are well combined. Nestle the dill sprigs, the peppercorns, the garlic cloves, and the red pepper into clean quart canning jars.

Wash the green beans, clip off the ends, and blanch them about three minutes in boiling water. When they are still green and firm, dump them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When the beans are cool, arrange them in the canning jars. Divide the hot vinegar mixture between the two jars and seal the lids. Refrigerate.

The beans can be eaten any time after 24 hours. Of course I had to sample one right away. The marinade will get stronger and more delicious as time passes.  

Recipe for Bloody Mary right here...

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries.

 Follow Lucy on Facebook

And Twitter

And Pinterest.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Yum . . . your recipes sound delicious.
    We like green beans, too; often I cook them tender crisp with diced bacon, leeks, garlic and fresh dill. Put the bacon, leeks, and beans in a large skillet and cook a few minutes, until bacon is crisp and leeks are soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so; sprinkle with the fresh dill and serve . . . .

  3. I'll eat anything Lucy pickles! I can say this as the lucky recipient of a jar of her bread and butter pickles which we savored down to the last morsel.

    Shrimp in a Bloody Mary sounds like a twist on a summer dish I make, a cold shrimp cocktail salad. Can be a main dish (for 4) with some crusty bread.

    Put in a bowl:
    1 pound of cooked cocktail shrimp (they're infinitely better if you buy uncooked frozen and shell and cook them yourself) cut into bite-sized pieces
    3 or so chopped locally grown tomatoes - about in equal volume to the shrimp
    1 chopped green pepper
    1 (small or a half) chopped sweet onion
    Chopped parsley and chives or scallions (You could also throw in fresh oregano or basil... to taste)

    Just cover with V8 juice and about 1/3 cup (to taste) of vinegar - I use white vinegar. Mix.

    Add salt and pepper and hot sauce to taste

    Let it sit in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy. Serve with crusty bread and Prosecco.

  4. Joan, that sounds lovely! Does the bacon crisp up right in there with the beans?

    Hallie, I'll bring you some of these green beans when I'm next up. this sounds wonderful--a new twist on gazpacho!

  5. I spent last night making Spicy Dilly Green Beans. I had to process the jars in a canner and they look great. I have a few beans left (about 1+ lbs) so I think I'll give your recipe a try. That Shrimp Cocktail Salad sounds great, too!

  6. LOVE green beans. I could eat them every day. SO funny. Jonathan just rolls his eyes. AGAIN?

    LOVE the shrimp thing. Hallie, a sweet onion like a vidalia onion?

    ANd bloody marys, too, which are such a dilemma to me. I adore them, with celery, or green beans, or shrimp (but you don't ant the drink to taste shrimpy.) But if I have one in the morning, I am out for the day so I never do. And at night--well, it doest seem like an evening drink,

    DOs anyone drink Bloody MArys in the evening?

  7. We have a lot of green beans right now, too, but this year--based on Steve's ravings about them last year--I planted flat Italian beans. Now he says he likes the other kind better. Ooookay.

    Anyway, I made your potato and green bean dish last night for dinner, Lucy/R. It was pretty darn fabulous, and was a good way to use up beans, potatoes and some onion.

    Mostly, I've been freezing the beans, but the flat ones are a pain because they need to be strung first. Next year I'll try scarlet runners, and the kind you pickle for cocktails. Yum.

  8. I'm with you, Hank. which is why I like my bloody mary's without vodka. I'm a wimp when it comes to daytime drinking. And there's no lower-in-calories (or higher-in-salt) juice than tomato juice.

  9. Lucy, since I dice the bacon before I start cooking, it does crisp up, but if you are concerned about it[or like it really, really crisp], you can start the bacon first, then add the leeks and the beans.

  10. Joan--mmmmmmmm!

    Karen, what's your process for freezing so they don't come out mushy?

  11. I bought a jar of dilly beans at a school fair once -- just out of curiosity and because a neighbor had made them. BINGO! I loved them. But I have never found their equal. I will be trying this recipe.

    There is a place on Captiva Island in Florida that has live daytime music and serves a Bloody Mary with a cucumber spear, a huge olive, and shrimp. Yes!

  12. Not a big fan of green beans (too much work to string them and they don't taste good unless just picked). However, just picked and barely cooked, then buttered and salted are wonderful.

    Karen, yes with potatoes. And another way to use green beans and potatoes (if you aren't pregnant-- see newest recommendations from NIH) is in salad Nicoise. Tuna, anchovies, potatoes, barely cooked green beans, black olives, red onion, torn up romaine, and a mustardy vinaigrette dressing (no cheese). Can add capers (LOVE capers).

  13. Here's what I do when I process beans for the freezer: Wash them, then string, snap the ends, and snap in half. Then I blanch them by setting a basket of them in boiling water for three minutes. Immediately dump them into ice water to stop the heat, and then drain well.

    Once the beans are drained I pack them into dated and labeled freezer bags and get them into the freezer as soon as possible. We eat them all winter, either separately, or in stews and soups. So much better than anything from the store.

    Speaking to Ellen's comment about freshness, though, I recently read (maybe in Science News, but I'm not sure) that the enzymes that cause ripening (and that you stop by the blanching process) continue after the produce is picked, even if it's refrigerated. Lettuce, for instance, continues to become more nutritious, even in the fridge. I think that's fascinating. There's a fine line, though, between ripening and the process of decay, so you have to time it just right, and it's different with each kind of vegetable or fruit.

  14. Oh, Lucy, what a wonderful problem to have. Too many fresh green beans! I don't know if I'll ever try to pickle them, but I would love to try pickled green beans sometime. Oh, and it was me that had the Southern green bean method of cooking, but I use a pressure cooker and don't have to cook them a long time. The bacon grease and about a tsp. and a half of sugar does the trick to make them delicious.

    I had to look up your husband's Bloody Mary recipe. I didn't realize so much went into the drink. I am not a big drinker either, but I have discovered that I quite like a Bloody Mary. Thanks for the link to that. Hank, I haven't had too many Bloody Marys, but I'm thinking it was not at night. Hallie, I prefer to keep the vodka, as it's one of the few alcoholic beverages that I actually like.

    Hallie, your shrimp cocktail salad sounds delicious, well, except no hot sauce for me. Joan, your green beans sound yummy.

  15. Denise, I would ask for my shrimp on the side:)

    Ellen, yes to the salade Nicoise! I love capers too, especially those big ones still on a stem...

  16. Oh, how wonderful. I loved this series and this book.