Lacto fermenting green beans is our favorite way of preserving them for winter meals. They are deliciously tangy, crisp, salty and slightly spicy. They are a treat that is devoured by the whole family, from toddlers to adults. It makes me so happy to hear the grands beg for them because it means they’re getting more veggies and getting that beneficial bacteria for their tummies. Adjust the red pepper flakes accordingly if you are feeding young children. Don’t however, omit them. They really add a nice mild flavor.
If the lacto – fermenting process is new to you, make sure you read the tips at the bottom of this post before you begin. When choosing beans steer away from the mature ones because they’re too tough. Gather all of your materials and make sure your jar(s) and lids are clean.
When it comes to packing the green beans in, I like to lay the jar on its side and layer them in as tight as possible. When I’ve packed in as many as will fit, I stand the jar upright and squeeze more in, finding space wherever and however without bruising the vegetable. Longer beans need to be cut in half to maintain a 2 inch head room.
This process has evolved for me as I’ve grown more comfortable and confident with my finished product. I used to heat the filtered water to dilute the salt, let it cool, then pour it over the veggies. That’s an added and unnecessary process though. Whisking the salt and filtered water together without heating works perfectly well and it saves time. Win!
Do you see the clear glass pickle pebble in this pic? It does the job so well of protecting the veggies from getting exposed to air. I am totally sold on these gems. These pickles turned out so very yummy. Today I picked another 5 pounds of beans. Round 2 of green bean pickles is happening this weekend.
I often get questions about this process and am so happy to answer them. Please feel free to comment and ask away. Lacto-fermentation is so good for your gut health and crazy delicious. They are worth your time and effort to make. My recommendation is to start small, a quart at a time. My first green bean pickle post from a few years back is a gallon size recipe so if you’re brave you can tackle that. I’ve come to prefer the quart size for quality control and practicality. Quart jars are available everywhere and easier for storage.
Okay…this is a lot of info. Dive in and give it a try and tell me about it!
Until next time my friends,
Pickling Naturally : Quart Sized Spiced Fermented Green Beans (makes 1 quart)
1 clean wide-mouthed quart mason jar
3 – 4 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 head of flowering dill )
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending how hot you want them)
1/2 to 3/4 pound of green beans, rinsed and trimmed
2 cups purified water
1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt ( I use this real salt)
one pickle pebble
Place the chopped garlic, dill and red pepper flakes at the bottom of the jar. Pack all of your green beans in vertically and pack them tight. You will need more or less than 1/2 pound ( I used more). I find laying the jar on the side to start with helps with both laying them in vertically and tight. Once most of them are in, stand the jar upright and squeeze in as many as possible in nooks and crannies. Longer beans should be cut in half in order to leave a 2 inch headroom at the top.
Whisk together filtered water and sea salt until salt is dissolved. Pour salty brine over the beans. If the beans aren’t totally covered, add a touch more water to cover beans completely. Tuck a folded clean cabbage leaf over beans and press down. Additionally use a pickle pebble as a weight over the beans. Both of these applications keep the beans submerged in the brine. Cover the jar loosely with a plastic lid (BPA free), put on a plate to catch any bubbling over that naturally happens in the process, and set in your kitchen out of reach of direct sunlight. My ferments go on a shelf in one of my kitchen cabinets.
Depending on the temperature of your home, bubbles should start appearing on day 3. Also, the brine will turn cloudy. This is normal. I check mine on day 5 by pulling out a bean and giving it a taste. It should be sour, salty and crispy with a spicy bite. If the salt flavor is still too strong, it needs more time. I usually ferment for 7-10 days. But it’s really a personal preference here. Do another taste test on day 7 to see if it’s to your liking. When they’re just how you like them, remove cabbage leaf and pickle pebble, cover jar and store in the fridge for up to 6 months. Serve on the side as a condiment with any meal, snack on them as you would carrot sticks, or place on a tray of hors d’oeuvres.
A few tips about pickling…
* Use unblemished, cleaned organically grown vegetables. Trim off soft and discolored spots.
* Use unrefined sea salt or Kosher salt. Refined table salt has additives and is too fine and can turn out a saltier pickle.
* The chlorine in water can inhibit good bacteria from forming, that’s why filtered water is recommended.
* It’s critical to keep your veggies under the brine and for many years I only used a cabbage leaf to accomplish this. But I’ve gotten into the habit of using pickle pebbles with the addition of a cabbage leaf. I like the extra assurance it gives me that the veggies remain safely under the brine. Link for pickle pebbles is above in recipe. They are a great affordable option!
* Metal lids react to the fermentation process. You can purchase plastic lids for Mason jars where they sell canning supplies, or on amazon.com. If you don’t want to go out and buy lids just create a barrier from the metal with parchment or cheesecloth.
* Speaking of lids, make sure you screw your lid on loosely to allow the brew to breathe. Starting at day 2 they start to bubble up and may “weep” so a reminder to place your jars on a dish to catch the overflow.
* It’s a good idea to mark the beginning date on your jars. If your life is as busy as mine, it’s easy to lose track of time.
* It’s normal for the brine to get cloudy on day 2 or 3.
* Once they have reached the desired flavor, remove cabbage leaf cover, discard, and refrigerate. The salt keeps them preserved for a long time when refrigerated.
* Daikon radish, celery root, cauliflower, carrots, red radishes, beets, kohlrabi, turnips and celery all are delicious pickled this way. I like to add fresh garlic for flavor too but experiment and make it your own.