We’re those people who love to can, but enjoy looking at all the jars rather than actually eating them.  I love making pickles, but never seem to eat them.  Jam? Love making that too, but never eat that either.  Canned fruit?  Yup.  Fun to make, and occasionally it gets cracked into.  Ahhh, food in jars, there’s nothing more satisfying.  Has there been any confession yet about how our canning shelves are strung with white christmas lights?

Our farmhouse meals have been extraordinary these days, so much fresh and beautiful food pouring out of the garden.  And not just from ours either – we came home to a message on the phone from a fellow islander, offering their bursting plum trees to the first pickers who could beat the bears.  Naturally, we filled many boxes and yellow plum butter and jam ensued.    I made my first ever jam with sugar (gasp!), feeling the need to retaliate against my own set rules for some reason … It happens every once in awhile.  Rules are made to be broken, right?

The corn is ready and we are blessed to have the house filled with good friends to share in the bounty of all our hard work materialized.  The endless hours of tending the garden are present in each and every sweet kernel and the feeling of feeding so many people from our garden is enough to make me want to do this over and over again each year.

So, if you happen to be part of the canning persuasion, I suggest adding these dilly beans to your repertoire.  Crisp and garlicky, and let’s face it, just another way way to find a place for all those beans before they land themselves in the compost.

Dilly Beans

Makes 6 pints

3 lbs beans, washed, topped and tailed

12 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 cup fresh dill weed

6 tsp dill seed

3 tsp black peppercorns

3 tsp mustard seeds

3 tsp celery seed

Chili flakes, optional

4 cups white vinegar

2 cups water

3 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp salt

Sterilize 6 pint jars and lids and set your canning pot to boil.

Cut beans into lengths 1 inch shorter than the pint jars.  Pack the beans vertically in each clean, hot jar, somewhat tightly.  Divide the garlic, dill weed, dill seed, peppercorns, celery seed, mustard seed and chili flakes (I put a pinch in each jar) among the jars.

Combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a nonreactive saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Pour the hot brine over the beans to cover by 1/2 inch, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace between the top of the liquid and the lid.

Release trapped air and wipe the rims clean.  Center lids on the jars and screw on the jar bands.  Process for 15 minutes in boiling water and remove jars from pot.  Set aside for 24 hours and check seals.  Store in a cool place for up to 1 year.

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