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Fermented Green Beans: The Lean and Mean Pickle Alternative

Summer comes, you have a small bean patch, nothing happens for a few months, then all of a sudden, tons of beans appear! You can cook and freeze them, but we have a better idea for that mountain of freshly picked beans. 

Preserve your beans as a crunchy fermented side dish! Okay, so you can freeze some of them, but keep aside enough to make a few jars of fermented green beans. They are packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics, and they're tasty! 

You may have actually had these before. Perhaps at a picnic or a potluck dinner? They usually go by the name of "pickled beans", but if you want to change things up a bit, let's look at how to make dilly beans at home. 

To pickle or to ferment?

There are at least three ways to keep green beans from spoiling. While pickled foods are tasty, fermented foods are delicious and have added health benefits. Here's a breakdown of how it works:

#1 Using vinegar and spices

By pickling your beans with vinegar and spices, you can create a pickled favorite that will last for a long time in your cupboard or pantry. This is not a fermentation process but rather a pickling process.

#2 Vinegar and water

Another way to preserve your beans is by packing them into a jar with spices and pouring a mixture of vinegar and water over the top of them.

Take the filled jars and place them into a refrigerator. These marinated green beans will last a long time unless someone eats them all! 

#3 Saltwater brine for Lacto fermented green beans

Fermenting beans through the Lacto fermentation process is the third way to preserve green beans. They are packed into a jar with herbs and spices and covered with a saltwater brine.

No vinegar is used when making Lacto fermented green beans - the sour taste develops naturally.

Are these beans the best beans?

We prefer our green beans Lacto fermented because it is packed with probiotics. Your gut will thank you for this probiotic-packed "pickled" piece of heaven. 

Fermented beans are loaded with great gut helping bacteria, which could:

  • Help boost your immune system;
  • Improve brain function;
  • Assist with weight loss;
  • Help with enhancing absorption of minerals and vitamins, and much, much more. 

One thing to consider is if you are on a salt-restricted diet. These beans are salt-heavy, so talk to your doctor first. If you get the go-ahead, here's a great recipe you can use to make them.

Delilah's dilly beans recipe

This recipe only takes about 10 minutes of prep time, and the total time spent on the recipe is also only around 10 minutes. It will give you approximately 1 quart of fermented green beans. 

You’ll need:

  • A fermentation jar
  • Measuring spoons
  • A measuring cup
  • A mixing bowl

Ingredients:

1 to 2 Cloves of garlic 

2 Heads of fresh dill (or 1 tbsp of dill seed)

1 Tsp of black peppercorns

1 Bay leaf

4 Cups of washed green beans with ends trimmed or snapped off

To make the brine: 

1 tbsp of sea salt mixed with 2 cups of filtered water

Directions: 

  • Place the spices (garlic, dill, black peppercorns), and the bay leaf at the bottom of your fermentation jar. Then pack the green beans into the jar (standing them up on end is best). Make your brine by dissolving the sea salt into the filtered water.
  • Pour your brine mixture over the beans until they are completely covered, leaving roughly an inch of space from the top of the jar to the top of the brine mixture. You may need to weigh the beans down to prevent the beans from floating to the top.
  • Place the lid on the jar, but do not tighten it fully. Only screw the lid on about half a turn. This bit of space will allow any air to escape as the bacteria does its job fermenting the green beans. Place in a dark and cool spot to ferment
  • Allow your green beans to ferment for five days to a week. Check the jar to "burp" out any air (open the lid to release air) and do a taste test. If you prefer them to have more flavor, let them sit a few days longer.
  • If your green beans taste good, seal the jar fully and place it in a refrigerator. Your fermented green beans can last up to six months. Just remember to keep an eye on the jar for any mold and scoop it off. 

3 Top tips for perfectly pickled green beans

  1. This recipe is for one batch, but you can easily double, triple, or make multiple batches. If you only feel like making one batch per day (to stretch out the beans' shelf life), you can mix up a bigger batch of brine to use whenever you want.
  2. The beans you choose will determine how well they turn out. Firmer or younger beans will make better "pickled" beans. Those beans will continue to improve in firmness, crunch, and absorb the flavor much better than older or mushier beans.
  3. By following the recipe's brine amount, you can play around with the recipe all you like. Add more garlic, maybe throw in some red peppers, hot spicy red pepper flakes (for a bit of heat), or other herbs. Have fun and explore the various flavors!

Beans are the best!

Fermented vegetables are a great way to get super healthy gut helping probiotics, and fermented beans are a great way to get a super crunchy snack. 

If you try this quick pickled green beans recipe, you'll be amazed at how easy it is. With barely any time involved or using a long list of ingredients, you can have a delicious treat to enjoy at just about every meal!

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