Suddenly Sauer: Preserving Food and Tradition in a Modern World

Dilly Beans and A Happy New Year!
September 8, 2010, 1:30 am
Filed under: food, Pickled Anything, Producers

Alright… it might be a little far fetched to claim that lacto-fermented Dilly Beans are the perfect treat for this year’s Rosh Hashannah festivities, but they’ll be gracing my family’s table where dates, beets, and honey occupy the spreads of Jews across the globe.  And I’ll give you one simple reason why… they’re totally delicious.

I first learned to make Dilly Beans at ADAMAH: the Jewish Environmental Fellowship run out of Falls Village Connecticut’s Isabella Freedman Retreat Center.  I apprenticed at the Fellowship’s pickle kitchen for a spell in 2008 and, needless to say, my life has never been the same.  One of the many things I was introduced to there was a deep respect for the rhythm of the seasons, and the way that Jewish Holiday’s beautifully capture the ebbs and flows we all experience in a year.  Rosh Hashannah, a holiday that celebrates the New Year with sweetness, freshness, and all things at their burst blooming peak of life, is full of delicious food traditions.  The mass consumption of apples dipped in honey is the one most strongly crystalized in my memory.

But this year, alongside the sweet things that will fill our table, I’ll be setting a little bowl of dilly beans with all their fantastic flavor just within arms reach of my family.  I love these beans, not only because they’re complexly sweet and sour, or because they never fail to impart the perfect crunch, but also because they’re simply the best thing to come out of the crock lately.  They’re ready NOW and NOW is the time to CELEBRATE!

I picked up the beans for these dilly’s from Earthworks Urban Farm‘s Medlrum Fresh Food Market

Then I brought them home, and fermented them with gusto.

Dilly Beans

(2 Gallons)

1 gallon+2 cups H20
1 cup salt
8 quarts green beans
1.5 cups peeled garlic
10 dill flowers
20 cayenne peppers
Spice mix (bay, cinnamon, orange peel, anise, clove)

I chopped the stems off all the beans, mixed a brine with the salt and water, placed all the ingredients in the crock, and poured the brine over them until they were submerged.  Then I put on one of my lids with a boiled stone for a weight, and put the whole crock in the basement (68 degrees) to ferment.  I plan to let them go three weeks, after two weeks they’re already divine.

I am really looking forward to sharing these beans with my family and friends.  I know it’s a little late to ferment them for this years’ holidays, but I highly suggest it for the future!  Nothing says new year like a batch of bright tasting pickles that are sure to keep you fed in the months to come!


5 Comments so far
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I just got a batch of green beans in my CSA box from my local farm. I will have to try this recipe. Too bad I can’t do it for Rosh Hashana, maybe for Sukkot…

Comment by Lisa @ Real Food Digest

hey love/ thinking of you so much today as we made our own ricota cheese to top a pizza! COOKING with a peace corps volunteer in dakar senegal, i took a pic of beautiful fermented chiles for you. im so excited to see you in a few months, loves leah

Comment by leah tai

We thoroughly enjoyed your dilly beans {even those of the family who may be suspect of the unfamiliar}. I’ve tried and enjoyed similar more processed products before, but these were the best! Can you pass on any cues for making smaller quantities, or do you think the recipe can succeed by just decreasing the quantities proportionately for those of us who may wish to make smaller batches? Thanks and love from all
our family, Wendy

Comment by wendy hillebrand

Wendy, thank you for your Dilly Bean praise:) I just recently made a half gallon batch and I’ll include the ingredients for that below. If that’s not a small enough batch, you can at least get an idea of how much I decreased from the original recipe! hope it’s helpful.

2 quarts beans
1/3 cup garlic
3 dill flowers
6 hot peppers
1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 1 dried orange peel
pinch cloves, pinch star anise
1/4 cup salt dissolved in 1 quart + 1 cup water

Comment by suddenlysauer

I have found a couple of great uses for your sauerruben [pickled turnips,for the uninitiated like me]. It was an ideal relish for a veal paprika dinner,contrasting perfectly with the sweetish pepper and dairy elements. Also, it was a super substitute for regular sauerkraut in a vegetarian reuben sandwich, because of its spicier flavor. Thanks for the inspiration!

Comment by wendy hillebrand

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