Pickle Some Green Beans (or anything else you like)

photo courtesy of buzzle.com

Pickling is a fun way to preserve because the high acidity mean that you don’t necessarily have to can your efforts in order to keep it safe (of course, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if you did).  Many older woman may have canned or pickled in their youth, or remember their mother, grandmother, or neighbor doing so; therefore, you might be able to take advantage of some skills buried deep in long-term memory.  If not, no problem, you’ll still end up with some delicious results!

Depending on the person with memory loss’ ability, they can help in any number of ways, they can clean the beans, help sterilize the jars, cut off the tips of the beans and/or cut them into smaller pieces (depending on your preference).  They can also help make the pickling solution, put beans in jars, funnel the solution into the jars, label the jars, etc.  Again, let them do as much as possible, but don’t be afraid to jump in and help if they need help.  Just be sure to pull back again to see if they can do the next step in the process.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for pickled green beans.  I believe it is originally from “The Joy of Cooking,” but I’m not sure.

You’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 clove garlic peeled (plus and extra clove of garlic for each jar)
  • 1 bunch (or more)  fresh dill weed
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I don’t use this, because I don’t like spicy pickles, but by all means, feel free).
  1. Sterilize 6 (1/2 pint) jars with rings and lids (your dishwasher may be able to do this, otherwise boil for 10 minutes).
  2. Trim green beans to 1/4 inch shorter than your jars or cut into bite-sized pieces, whatever you prefer.
  3. Add the vinegar, water,  salt and one clove of garlic to a large and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
  4. Divide dill equally among the jars.  Divide green beans equally and add into the jars so they are standing on their ends (if kept long).  Add red pepper flakes or extra cloves or garlic to the jars if desired (My uncle loves to eat pickled cloves of garlic like an apple.  He’s weird.)
  5. Ladle or funnel the boiling brine into the jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the tops. Discard garlic that has been boiled.
  6. Seal jars with lids and rings.
  7. If desired, place jars  in a hot water bath so they are covered by 1 inch of water. Simmer but do not boil for 10 minutes to process (“can”). Cool to room temperature. Test jars for a good seal by pressing on the center of the lid. It should not move.  These pickles can be kept in a cupboard.  Any jars that you did not can or whose lids move after canning should be kept in the fridge.
  8.  Wait 1 to 3.
  9. Eat and enjoy!

Again, you’ll probably want to supervise anyone in the moderate stages around boiling water, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help with other steps in the process.  Even someone in the late stages might like sitting with you and reminiscing about pickling in the past or hearing you describe the action as it unfolds.  And certainly anyone in any stage will enjoy the results!



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