Monday, September 17, 2012

Dilly Beans

On my most recent trip to the farmer's market, I picked up some green beans so I could try the dilly bean recipe from Sherri Brooks Vinton's "Put 'Em Up."  I halved the recipe below because I prefer small batches the first time I try a recipe.   We haven't tried these yet because I do like my pickles to cure for a few weeks, but I can't wait, and neither can Greg.  Apparently, these are a Wisconsin delicacy.   Who knew?

4 lbs. green beans, washed, topped and tailed
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 cup fresh dill weed
2 Tbs. dill seed (caraway or celery seeds are acceptable substitutes if you have trouble finding dill seed like I did)
1 Tbs. black peppercorns
4 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. sale

  1. Cut the beans into lengths 1 inch shorted than the pint jars.   Divide the garlic, dill weed, dill seed and peppercorns among the jars.  Pack the beans vertically into eight clean, hot jars, somewhat tightly.
  2. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt into a medium nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil.   Pour the hot brine into the jars to cover the beans by 1/2 inch.   Leave 1/2 inch of head space at the top of the jar.   Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes to seal jars. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sweet Stickles

My paternal grandmother was a very experienced canner, best known in her circle in Lexington for her pickles and chutneys.   When I took up canning in the summer of 2011, I asked her about her canning recipes, and she mentioned one of her favorites was Sweet Stickles.   I asked for the recipe, but a thorough search of her apartment didn't uncover it, and she no longer remembered the proportions.   I did look through canning books at the library and searched the web, but it seemed this recipe died with it's generation.

While helping clean out Grandma's apartment after her recent passing, I had my eye out for the Sweet Stickles recipe.  Our search yielded four overflowing recipe boxes and Southern Living's "The Canning and Preserving Cookbook," published in 1972.   After the recipe boxes didn't contain the recipe, I turned to the cookbook and it's well worn pages.   I finally found what I was looking for on a page splashed with green food coloring, and I can't wait for the next cucumber season to try this well-loved recipe.

Sweet Stickles (Southern Living Canning and Preserving Cookbook)

7 lbs. cucumbers sticks
1 cup slaked lime
1 gallon water
1 ½ quarts white vinegar
7 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ TBS celery seed
1 ½ TBS salt
Few drops green food coloring

  1. Peel pickling cucumbers, cut lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with spoon. Cut into strips the size of your finger and cut to desired lengths. Soak cucumbers overnight in lime and water. 
  2. The next morning, wash cucumbers until water runs clear. Soak in clear water for 3 to 4 hours then drain. Heat vinegar, sugar, food coloring and spices to a boil. Pour over cucumbers and let stand overnight.  
  3. Put cucumber and brine mixture over low heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until cucumbers are clear, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon.
  4. Pack into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2” head space. Adjust lids, then process in a boiling water bath 15 minutes.   Yield:  10 pints.