A recipe and tutorial for home-canned pickled beans flavored with mustard seeds, garlic, and red pepper flakes. A perfect balance of spice, salt, and sweet for salads, antipasto plates, appetizers and snacking.
Before I started growing vegetables, including green beans, I'd never thought to buy pickled green beans (do they even sell them?), and I'm not even sure I'd ever eaten them!
I only knew I needed to find something to do with all the beans I was harvesting and I only knew how to use a water-bath canner, so if I wanted to can beans, they'd have to be pickled. (To can beans with water safely, you need a pressure canner.)
For those wondering why I "had" to find a way to can the beans, at that time I didn't care for frozen green beans. I know they're better for you than canned, more vitamins, yada, yada. It's a texture issue, I'm afraid, and there's no getting around it.
Update: We now eat frozen beans after discovering this way to easily freeze green beans with less "texture issues." Though I still make pickled beans, too!
Anyway, I found out our whole family loved pickled beans! I did have to search for the perfect recipe with a nice balance between spicy and sweet.
In the end, I combined a couple of recipes (always with the same trusted liquid measurements from the Ball Blue Book) that resulted in our favorite pickled beans ever (with no dill in sight, thank you very much).
How do you use pickled beans?
Lots of ways! We eat them from a vegetable plate next to the carrots and celery, on a platter of antipasto with olives, meats, and cheeses, and as a super easy, super tasty appetizer. They're also wonderful chopped up to top a salad.
At the holidays, we have the bowl of olives, the bowl of cranberry sauce, and the pickled beans. I've even turned my extended family into fans of pickled beans.
And I'm not sure they'd ever eaten them before, either.
Would you like to try them, too?
They're as easy as the other pickled vegetable we like, asparagus, and the most time-consuming thing about making pickled beans is cutting them to fit the jars. In fact, when it comes to the canning part, it takes literally minutes.
How to Make Canned Pickled Beans
1. Start by washing a lot of green beans. I've usually don't weigh them, I just start cutting and fitting into jars.
But for you, I did. For a canner load of 7 pint or 12-oz jars, I use about 2 gallon-size baggies full of beans (or half a 5-gallon bucket). Each gallon bag holds about 2 pounds beans, so a batch of these beans would need between 4 and 5 pounds of green beans.
2. Cut the beans and fit to the jars. Cut both ends off of washed beans: lay 5-7 beans on a cutting board and slice through all (with this many beans, I cannot be bothered with "snapping" the ends off).
Oh, and I've seen beautiful food photos of beans with the curly little ends left on. Have you tried eating these? Serious texture problems...it's a hard little pokey thing. Off with its end, I say.
But each to their own - leave them on if you want!
Tip for cutting the green beans to fit the jars
- Take one bean, put it in one of your jars (which has been cleaned and waiting in the sink filled with hot water, like outlined in this canning tutorial) and cut it to length, making sure it is 1/2" from the top of the jar rim which is the headspace required for this recipe.
- Then use that bean as a measure to cut all the remaining beans.
- To know how many cut beans will fit in each jar, take one of the jars, empty it of water and fill it with some cut beans. I can imagine your thoughts now, "Why the heck is she doing that?" Bear with me.
- Then remove the beans from the jar and lay them in a little pile (refilling the jar with hot water). Now I have a picture of how many beans I need for each jar.
- Make 7 little piles all roughly the same size, and throw in a few extra, just to make sure you'll have enough when the time comes to fill them and cover with the brine.
This helps to have all your beans ready, without having too much or too little, because the actual canning goes pretty quickly.
3. Make the brine and cook according to the recipe and heat the water in the canner.
4. Fill the jars. Start with the garlic and pepper flakes and then pack the beans into each jar as tightly as possible. Add the brine to each jar, leaving 1/2" headspace, seal and add to the canner. Repeat with all the jars.
5. Process in the water-bath canner for 10 minutes. Click here for a complete Water Bath Canning Tutorial.
Wait for about a month for the flavors to infuse the beans before enjoying your pickled beans!
Garlic Spiced Canned Pickled Beans
- 4 to 5 pounds green beans washed and trimmed to fit pint jars
- 6 cups white vinegar
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons pickling spice
- 1 tablespoons pickling salt
- 14 garlic cloves peeled and cut in half
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes for each jar or to taste
- Prepare 7 pint jars, lids, and canner for processing.
- Prepare green beans.
- Combine vinegar, water, sugar, pickling spice, and salt in 6-8-qt. pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 3 minutes.
- Add a two garlic cloves (4 halves) and the red pepper flakes to each jar before packing with beans. (Do one jar at a time, pouring brine over and sealing before moving to the next jar.)
- Ladle the hot brine over beans, leaving 1/2" headspace, removing air bubbles with a spatula, wiping the jar rim, and attaching the lid. (Try to get a bit of the pickling spices in each jar.)
- Process in a boil-water canner for 10 minutes.
- Remove from canner to a towel-lined surface and leave undisturbed for 24 hours before checking lids for seal, labeling with date and storing. Use within a year to year-and-a-half.
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in August of 2009.
Other Easy Canning Recipes To Try: