These beans are a delicious pickle, and they work well on sandwiches, in salads, and also in bloody marys. I like to use the thin French haricots verts in this recipe, but you can also use regular green beans, if you'd like. All the spice amounts are to taste; if you'd like your Dilly Beans to be really hot you can double the amount of red pepper, or add other spices, if you wish. Just don't alter the vinegar to water ratio (unless you are altering it to add MORE vinegar, not less). If you use less vinegar than is called for here, your final product may not have the proper pH for safe water bath canning. If you like, you can add 1/4 teaspoon of Pickle Crisp to each jar to help keep the beans crisp. Add it to the jars when you add the spices. "Cooking Time" is processing time.
- Trim the beans to fit in the jars - you want them to stand up on end. Trim them so you are leaving 1" headspace between the tops of the beans and the top of the jar.
- Sterilize 5 wide mouth pint jars by boiling them in water for 10 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, and salt, and bring to a boil. Stir well to make sure all the salt is dissolved. Cover and keep at a low simmer while you pack the jars.
- After sterilizing the jars, distribute the spices evenly among them. Place 1 sprig of dill, 1 clove of garlic,1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon dill seed, and 3 black peppercorns in each jar.
- Pack the jars with the trimmed beans, making sure to leave 1" headspace.
- Bring the vinegar/water mixture back to a boil, and ladle it into the packed jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Use a chopstick or other thin, non-metal utensil to run around the sides of the jar to make sure there are no air bubbles left in the jar. Wipe the rims of the jars with damp paper towels to remove any brine which got on the rims or the threads. Place the lids and the bands on the jars, just tightening the bands fingertip tight.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, then remove and let sit, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours before checking seals. It is important to let them sit undisturbed for 12 hours because the sealing compound on the lids is still cooling and hardening, completing the seal. While the jars cool, you will hear a "plink" type sound from each jar - this is the jars completing the vacuum seal as the final air escapes the jar. After 12 hours have passed, remove the bands and check the lids - press down in the center of the lid. If you cannot push the lid down any further, the jar is sealed. If the lid "gives" a bit, and you can push it down, the jar did not seal. You can either put the band back on the jar, and reprocess it for another 10 minutes, or you can just put it in the fridge and use it within 3 months.