Produce, preserving, pickling, pinging—and Orange Coast’s Food Lovers Guide

One of the especially joyful aspects as the Food Revolution rolls on is the enthusiastic, and growing, contemporary audience for the old-fashioned kitchen virtues of preserving and pickling. I really love this particular development—I fell under sway of the canning mystique long ago, and I know stone-cold that every cook should experience the singular satisfaction of regarding a beauteous row of pinging jars on the kitchen counter.

The Produce section of our September Food Lovers Guide acknowledges this burgeoning area with the inclusion of O.C. eco-entrepreneur Delilah Snell, owner of Santa Ana’s Road Less Traveled Store and the Backyard in a Jar line of small-batch preserves. Snell, a U.C. Extension-certified master food preserver, teaches a variety of food preservation classes, at her store and elsewhere. While it is possible to learn a lot from books on preserving, hands-on education from an expert is a thorough, and enjoyable, way to acquire the mad canning skills you’ll surely be anxious to apply. (See, I’m betting the canning mystique will work its magic on you, too). Click here to see Snell’s fall classes and here for her personal blog.

Delilah shared a recipe for spicy pickled green beans with Taste of Orange County that is simple to make—the most difficult part is waiting the specified two weeks before sampling. I know what I’ll be doing with mine when I crack open that first jar: These beans will make the perfect Bloody Mary garnish.

I used a combination of green beans and yellow wax beans. Select straight, slender specimens when buying beans for this pickle—they’ll pack into the jars nicely for a good-looking result. About 30 beans fit in each of the 12-ounce “Quilted Crystal” canning jars I used—a standard pint jar would hold proportionally more.

Hot Pickled Beans from Delilah Snell

4-1/2 cups cider vinegar

3 cups water

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 tablespoon red chili flakes

2-1/2 tablespoons salt

Garlic cloves, 1 per jar

Mustard seed, 1 teaspoon per jar

Dried chilis, 1 per jar

4 pounds green beans, stem ends trimmed to fit inside jar

(Makes about 6 pints or 7 12-ounce jars)

Prepare jars following safe canning rules. Consult the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (Robert Rose, 2006), visit the Ball Corporation website, or take a class with Delilah Snell.

In large saucepan, combine cider vinegar, water, celery seed, red chili flakes, and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and keep hot.

Into each jar put 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, and 1 dried chili. Pack beans in snugly, standing up. Cover beans with hot brine, put on jar lids, and process 5 minutes in boiling-water bath.

Allow flavor to develop for 2 weeks before opening.

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