Friday, July 25, 2008

I've 'Bean' Canning

My wife and I went to the Farmers Market in Fonthill last night in search for beans! We had some from our garden but we wanted some for dinners and some for canning. Specifically, I wanted to make this recipe that was in her Canadian Living magazine for 'Spicy Dilled Beans'.
I've canned in the past but always jams, I'd never tried my hand at 'pickling' or 'preserving' anything before.

There were quite a few vendors at the market with all sorts of fresh produce, baked goods, preserves, and meats. A couple of area restaurants even had stalls with small sample size foods available. We bought corn, early peaches, fresh garlic, beans, and basil.

The beans we bought were from Tree & Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm, they had an amazing assortment of different varieties and we bought a mixed bundle of Dragon's Tongue (cream and purple in colour) and Red Swan Beans (dusty rose in colour). The owner tossed in a bundle of basil for free!

The recipe (from Canadian Living Magazine August 2008) turned out to be pretty easy (as long as you're organized!) The ingredient list was as follows: 2lb assorted beans, 4 small hot red peppers, 4 heads fresh dill (or 16 sprigs fresh dill), 4 cloves garlic, 4 tsp mustard seeds, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 1/2 cups white vinegar, and 2 tsp pickling salt. You'll also need 4 500ml mason jars and obviously a water canner.

After thoroughly washing the beans (including the beans from my own garden!) cut them into about 3 1/2 inch lengths (to fit in a 500ml jar. Discard the stem end of the bean. Cut a slit lenghtwise in the hot peppers and set aside.

Into each of the four 500ml canning jars (ensure they are clean, ideally by sterilizing them first in a hot water bath), pack the dill ,1 clove garlic, 1tsp mustard seed, and 1 hot red pepper. Tightly pack in the beans, cut side up.

In a small saucepan, bring water, vinegar and salt to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour into each jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Cover with prepared lids. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

The recipe says they're great as a garnish for cocktails, perhaps a Caesar or Martini. I think they'll be good for a light antipasto platter too!

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