5 Ingredients or Fewer

Fantastic Fermented GreenĀ Beans

June 30, 2014
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 3 quarts
Author Notes

Lightly adapted from Kevin West's Saving the Season. A note on salt: volume measurements for salt vary dramatically from brand to brand, so weighing the salt is your best bet. That said, the 6 ounces called for here will equal about 3/4 cup of Morton's coarse flakes. On weighing: the crucial thing in fermentation is not to have the vegetables exposed to the air; you want them fully submerged in the brine. As West suggests, the easiest, least expensive way to do this is simply to fill a Ziploc bag with extra brine (a 5 percent salt-to-water ratio, just in case it leaks) and use the bag to push the beans down under the brine. It works surprisingly well. —Nicholas Day

What You'll Need
  • 1 gallon bottled water
  • 6 ounces salt
  • 2 pounds small green beans
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 flowering dill heads, or 4 to 6 dill fronds plus 2 tablespoons dill seeds (optional)
  1. Heat the water just until the salt dissolves. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Trim the stem ends from the beans. Then layer them and the other ingredients in either a 2-gallon crock or a couple of 1-gallon jars. Cover with the brine. Weigh the beans down -- see note above -- and place the crock or jars in a relatively dark place at room temperature. The crock or jars should be covered, but not tightly sealed, so that gases produced during fermentation can escape. If using a crock without a lid, cover it with a plate or board and drape with a clean dish towel. If using jars, screw lids on loosely or remove the rubber seal (if using the style of jar pictured).
  3. Bubbles will appear in 4 or 5 days. Skim any floating scum off the surface daily. (It's supposed to be there; don't let it worry you.) Taste occasionally. The beans should be fully pickled in about 2 weeks. Once they are ready, just refrigerate the beans in the brine. They will continue to ferment in the fridge, but at a much slower rate. Eat within a couple of months.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Melanie Schikore
    Melanie Schikore
  • Horto
  • IlovePhilly
  • Sophia Henkel
    Sophia Henkel
  • Wendy Vania
    Wendy Vania
I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is nicholasday.net; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.

15 Reviews

ErinJoy October 20, 2022
I've been using this recipe for dilly beans and carrots (separate jars) for several years. This year I'm trying radishes as well. Particularly with the carrots, I like to add a little heat with a small chili pepper. I've always done mine in small batch 1 qt/1L wide-mouthed Mason jars. They are a family favourite!
ELAINE D. October 16, 2018
how do you eat these...as a pickle or as a side dish to a meal?
Kristi July 12, 2017
I made these for the second time and got FAR fewer bubbles this time. What gives?
jmacdowall November 14, 2016
My video answers a lot of these questions:

Melanie S. July 27, 2016
6 oz of salt? What's that in tablespoons?
Imogene January 23, 2016
My beans did not pickle this year. Last year no problem. This year I used quart jars, last year I used a small crock. I wanted to make a larger quantity so chose jars. I do not know what went wrong. So disappointed. IZM
Horto August 30, 2014
i would go with the original recipe if I were you
JW July 29, 2014
I've used this method to make pickled green tomatoes as well, as it's fantastic.
Pleazhold July 29, 2014
There is mold growing on top of my brine... is that right or has something gone wrong?
Roger L. July 17, 2014
Can this be done in several smaller quart jars? It looks like the photo above is a quart (or smaller) jar, but I want to be sure before trying this one.
IlovePhilly July 19, 2014
You can do any size container you like. The key is that the vegetables fit and are suitably submerged under the liquid.
Lynn D. July 17, 2014
Does the water really need to be bottled?
Sophia H. July 17, 2014
You need clean water, so if you have a good filter you should be fine.
IlovePhilly July 19, 2014
Definitely not. I've been fermenting for many years and I have never used bottled water.
Wendy V. August 24, 2014
City water that's chlorinated can disrupt the fermentation process, at least that's what i understand.