There’s not much that happens on St. Patricks day in Cape Town. You could go down to The Dubliner Pub on Long Street or wonder if wearing your “Kiss Me I’m Irish Tshirt” from college could get you a smooch. Growing up in Chicago, I remember the river turned green (or was it always? :0), Irish Soda Bread filled our stomachs and fraternity parties thought green beer kegs would bring all the girls to the yard.
The greenest thing I’m consuming this year are the efforts of my pickled green beans. Every year in college, my cousin Chrissy would share her spicy stock of homemade ‘Dilly Beans” with me. I would bring them back to my dorm room at Michigan State University and enjoy every tart spicy crunch I’d pull out from the juice of the jar . As a student, it was the perfect snack in between classes or to keep you spiced up for studying. Salt and vinegar dilly beans with a cayenne twist lived happily in my cupboard to replace my Funyun and Flaming Hot Cheeto days.
Now, years later the pickled cravings for that long green bean treat has finally been recreated in my kitchen-thanks to her shared recipe in Share. Cook. Love. Six bottles of white wine vinegar and eight sterlised jars later . . . I had myself a pickling kitchen station ready to spice up anything green for winter food storage. Eventhough my St. Patty’s day isn’t filled with shamrocks and parades, I am celebrating my freckles, my family and a green recipe with you.
Chrissy’s dilly bean recipe goes a little something like this:
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (I also added tumeric, pickling spice, paprika, whole dried chillies and bay leaves to some jars- getcreative)
4 cloves of garlic
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1/4 cup salt (I used Khoisan’s hand harvested sea salt but any of your preferred quality salt can be used)
1. Wash and trim the beans. Pack lengthwise into clean sterlised jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.
2. Add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder to each jar, one clove garlic and one head dill.
3. Combine water, vinegar, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Pour this hot mixture over the beans packed in the jars. Leave 1/4 head space.
4. Adjust lids and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Let is stand for at least two weeks for the flavour to develop.
Makes about 4 pints.