The green beans have been quite prolific this year. We have a couple of pounds in the freezer and a couple of pounds in the refrigerator. This is the year I plan to experiment with more food-preserving techniques, so last year, I purchased “Put ’em Up!: A Comprehensive Home Preserving Guide for the Creative Cook, from Drying and Freezing to Canning and Pickling.” It’s full of wonderful ideas for enjoying fresh garden produce now and later.
Szechuan Pickled Green Beans
This refrigerator-pickle recipe for Szechuan Green Beans intrigued me because it’s so simple. It doesn’t involve the scary-seeming boiling-water method that is generally used for canning vegetables for the relatively long term – a few months to a year. This recipe just requires covering blanched beans with a seasoned vinegary brine and keeping it in the fridge. It will last for a month and the flavor deepens every day. Yum.
Szechuan Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans, washed, topped, and tailed
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, preferably Szechuan
- 1 (1-inch) knob ginger, sliced into coins
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
Line several baking sheets with dish towels and set aside. Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl or clean sink.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the beans into the water, no more than 1 pound at a time, and return to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute.
Scoop the beans out with a spider or slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice-water bath. Continue blanching in batches. Remove the beans from the ice bath with a slotted spoon and spread on the towel-covered baking sheets. Blot dry.
To make the pickles, pack the beans vertically in a quart jar.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Pour the hot brine over the beans to cover by 1/2 inch. Leave 1/2 inch of headspace between the top of the liquid and the lid.
Refrigerate: Cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.