Big Ugly Blog July 2023

I have a canning workshop planned for this Saturday, but at least two of my gardeners are way ahead of me and have already started canning jars and jars of kraut- they are on at least their third batch, and it looks awesome.

This year the weather has been really kind to our gardens- mild, not too hot weather, with just enough rain to keep the gardens happy but not water-logged. While gardens are somewhat slow as we did have a cool spring, the gardens are also promising good harvests with lots of blossoms still coming on as well as lots of peppers, tomatoes, squash, etc coming along.

A couple of our new gardeners are so excited about the fact that their gardens are doing well, and one tells me every couple of days how many tomatoes and peppers she has coming on, and they are just as enthusiastic about learning how to preserve it for use over the winter as neither has ever tried canning, freezing, or drying food.

This Saturday we’ll be canning “Some Like It Hot Dilly Beans”. We were going to do spaghetti, but there just aren’t enough tomatoes yet, but there are green beans, so that’s what we’ve decided to do.


Some Like It Hot Dilly Beans

3 lbs green beans

1/4 cup canning salt

2 1/2 c apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 c water

5 t red pepper flakes or 5 small red chili peppers, or to preference

5 cloves garlic

10 t dried dill seeds or 4 heads dill, divided



Wash your jars, lids, screw bands, and canning tools in hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly to remove all suds. Set aside to air dry on a clean kitchen towel.

Place the jar rack into water bath canner, place jars in the canner, and add water to cover. Bring the canner to a simmer (180˚F) for 10 minutes, and keep the jars hot until you are ready to fill them.

Rinse the green beans and cut into 4-inch pieces to fit in the jar.

Combine the salt, vinegar, and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer (180˚F) for 10 minutes.

Spread a kitchen towel on the counter. Use your jar lifter to remove a warm jar from the canner, drain, and place on the towel. Keep the remaining jars in the canner, so they stay hot.

Add 1 t red pepper flakes or 1 red pepper, 1 clove of garlic, and 2 teaspoons of dried dill seeds or 1 head of dill to the bottom of the jar.

Pack the green beans lengthwise into the jars. Try to pack the beans tightly. Pour the hot pickling liquid over the string beans, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.

Run the bubble popper through the jar to release any trapped air bubbles. You can also tilt the jar back and forth to let air escape. Add more brine to adjust the headspace again if needed to maintain a 1/2 inch. You want to be sure all the beans are submerged beneath the brine.

Place the jar back into your canner, and repeat with the rest of the jars.

Once the jars are in the canner, adjust the water level so it is 2-inches above the top of the jar.

Cover the canner, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils vigorously, continue boiling for 10 minutes.

When processing time is complete, turn off heat, remove the cover, and let the canner cool down and settle for about 5 minutes.

Spread a dry kitchen towel on the counter. Remove the cover by tilting lid away from you so that steam does not burn your face.

Use the jar lifter to remove the jars from canner and place on the towel. Keep the jars upright, and don’t tighten bands or check the seals yet. Let the jars sit undisturbed for 12 to 24-hours to cool.

After 12 to 24-hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate jar and use up within 2 weeks.

Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label, date, and store your jars in a cool, dark place for 12 to 18 months. Allow 2 to 4 weeks for the dilly beans to develop their flavor. Once the jar is open, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Recipe makes about 5 pints.