In my quest to preserve food for winter, I came across a recipe for preserved green beans. Normally, in order to can green beans you need a pressure canner, which is basically a really big pressure cooker. Now I don’t own one of these, and they run at least a hundred dollars, so I am not ready to fork out for one until I know that I am going to continue this hobby until I am 70.
The great thing about the recipe I found is that it preserves the green beans by fermenting them in salt water, the bad thing is that fermented green beans doesn’t actually sound that good. But looking on the bright side, I love green beans and I love salt, so I figure that I will give it a try!
I used the following recipe, but I need to add a disclaimer. I had to piece this together, no one seemed to have complete instructions for this method, so please use it with care.
Clean and blanch your green beans for 5 minutes in boiling water with two teaspoons of salt added. Drain the green beans, and put them into canning jars. Cover with a super salted solution of 1 gallon water to 1/2 cup salt. Make sure that the salt has no additives such as iodine; kosher or canning salt work great, but if you are using kosher salt be sure to add another two tablespoons of salt for every 1/2 cup that you use.
The green beans need to be totally submerged in the solution. The old-fashioned way to do this was to make it in a huge crock and put a plate on top weighted down with stones. Needless to say, a plate won’t fit into quart sized glass canning jars, so I used plastic wrap to fill the empty space and added a bit more salt water to keep it weighted down so that the air stayed off the green beans that bob to the top.
You are supposed to watch the green beans every day or two to skim off any foam that develops, but I started this four days ago and I haven’t seen any yet. It takes about 6 weeks to fully ferment, and I haven’t been able to figure out quite how long the shelf life is, but I have read that it should last through the winter. Before you eat them, make sure that they smell and look good still, and soak them for 30 minutes to wash off the excess salt, or you are going to be in for a seriously puckered mouth.