Makes 4-5 pints.
• 2 cups water
• 2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
• 1/4 cup canning or pickling salt
• 2 lbs fresh green beans
• About 8 fresh heads of dill
• 1 large diced onion
• 1 head of garlic
• Mustard seeds
• Celery seeds
• Pepper flakes (optional if you want spicy dilly beans)
• Dried red chilies (optional if you want spicy dilly beans)
1. Rinse the beans and trim the ends. Cut the beans to 4 or 5 inches in length, depending on the height of your jars.
2. Prepare 4 or 5 wide-mouth pint jars by washing with hot, soapy water to remove any residue, and then sterilize in boiling water for ten minutes. Remove sterilized jars with tongs and place on a rack.
3. Place 2 heads of fresh dill, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons diced onion, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, 5 whole peppercorns, 1 teaspoons celery seed, and a pinch of pepper flakes into the bottom of each pint jar. Pack the green beans vertically on top of the spices, squeezing in as many as you can without going over the rim of the jar. Add a dried red chili or two if desired. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Trim down any of the beans that are too tall for the jar.
4. To make the brine, bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Pour the hot brine over the beans using a jar funnel, maintaining the 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe off the rims of the jars, and cover with sterilized lids. Screw on bands and tighten securely.
5. Submerge jars in a boiling water bath. Once the water begins to boil again, set your timer for fifteen minutes. Remove jars carefully and set on a rack to cool for 24 hours. Once cool, test your seals, and store without bands in a cool, dark place. Allow at least four weeks for the flavor to develop. Refrigerate after opening.