Quick Chile Dilly Beans

July/August 2009

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Late in summer, glorious canned goods like dilly beans are up for judging at county fairs and are sold at every farmers' market. Some traditionalists would say that dilly beans are best after a month or so of marinating, but you can get that long-marinated taste in just one day with this quick technique. Any type of green bean can be turned into dilly beans, but super-thin, French-style beans stay tender and are less likely to be stringy or tough.

Quick Chile Dilly Beans

Makes: About 5 cups (drained) beans

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  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill seed, or 4 fresh dill seed heads
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced, leaving root end intact
  • 1-2 small fresh red chile peppers, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced lengthwise


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Cook green beans until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans to the ice water to cool. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 3 cups water, vinegar, salt, pickling spice and peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt is dissolved. Let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  3. Place dill seed (or dill seed heads), shallots, chiles and garlic in a 2-quart canning jar (or similar-size tempered glass or heatproof plastic container with a lid). Place the beans in the container. Carefully pour the hot vinegar solution through a sieve into the container. Make sure all the beans are submerged in the liquid. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 1 day to marinate the beans.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate for up to 1 month. | Equipment: 2-quart canning jar or similar-size tempered glass or heatproof plastic container


Per 1/2-cup serving: 16 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 156 mg sodium; 65 mg potassium.

Exchanges: 1 vegetable

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