Heidi's Secret Pickled Green Beans Recipe

We have a love-hate relationship with the fall time of the year. The bad news is that there is a killing frost just waiting to happen; it will crush the delicate flowers that add so much to our landscaping and put a period at the end of the sentence that is called the growing season.

Jars of home-canned ghreen beans

It also brings an end to the allergy season, providing relief the those of us who are not immune to the ravages of mold and pollen.

Fall also provides the colors that signal the approaching hibernation of all things green. However, fall also means that our last crop of garden goodies is ready for harvest. In particular, the last picking of green beans will be prepared for their preservation in jars to be stored in our basement "cellar" where they will await a winter's day to be opened and enjoyed -- just like a summer day -- in myriad ways once again.

We prefer bush-type Blue Lake green beans (variety: Blue Lake 274), as they tend to be straighter… Yellow beans may be used as well. These beans are great as additions to salads, as toppers for cocktails such as a Bloody Mary (made with garden tomatoes) or martini, and can even be used as appetizers (eat them right out of the jar!).

Bloody Mary with pickled green beans

Since we always try to plant a second crop of beans – right around the 1st week of July – late September/early October brings enough beans to double this recipe. That way, we can enjoy them all winter!

(By the way, early July is not a bad time to also plant three or four dill seeds since, although dried dill can be substituted, fresh dill from the garden will yield a better flavor, and it should be ready right about when your beans are.)

Required Equipment


  • 2 pounds (approx.) garden green beans – washed and trimmed
  • Dill heads – 1 per pint jar
  • Cloves garlic – 1 per pint jar
  • Cayenne pepper 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon per pint jar
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups water
Ingredients ready to go...


It's important to have all of your ingredients and equipment out and ready to go before you begin the process.  If everything is not 100% ready to go, the canning process gets a bit frustrating and possibly chaotic.

Beans pre-cut/trimmed to exact length

Pick beans when they are approximately as long as a pint jar is tall; wash and trim them so they are just a bit shorter (approx. ½ inch) than the jar is tall.  Be sure to save the ends and trimmings to have for dinner or add to a salad.

Sterilizing the jars in hot water bath

While bath/processing water is heating to a boil (pictured at right), prepare pickling liquid in a separate pan by combining vinegar, water and salt; bring it to a boil.

To the bottom of a hot/sterilized jar, add cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic (larger cloves may be cut into smaller pieces) and one dill head.

Pack beans, lengthwise, tightly into jars; pour boiling hot pickling liquid over beans to within ¼ inch of top of jar. Remove air bubbles; adjust and tighten caps.

Finished jar of pickled beans with label

Place sealed pints back into hot water (The water level must be above the level of the tops of the lids on the jars); return water to boiling and process pints in the boiling water for ten (10) minutes. Remove from water and cool. This will yield approximately 4-6 pints of tasty, pickled beans.

As always, I hope to see you On the Lake