I see them on every menu. On the appetizer page for restaurants that proudly serve housemade specialties. On the snack menus of every pub that serves craft beer. And as a half price small plate at happy hour.
In case you missed it, they are all the rage. I have to say that I’m fully embracing the trend. I absolutely love pickled foods.
I finally tried pickled ginger a few weeks ago because I had a great cookbook to review. But experimenting with other pickled veggies is something I just couldn’t seem to get around to.
I’d buy a head of cauliflower or some carrots and I’d think — I should try pickling those. It happened over and over again and each time I’d end up using the vegetables for something else.
It wasn’t until I picked up a pound of long beans from the Farmer’s Market that I finally found my motivation to get pickling.
I associate long beans with Asian food (as I think most others do, too). More specifically, I associate them with Thai food because the first time I ever used them was in the green papaya salad we made while taking a cooking class in Chiang Mai.
I’m not that big of a fan of green beans, and since long beans are similar, I haven’t branched out to buy any since that class.
But as you know, I’ve been jumping in head first with buying new and different ingredients in the East Bay. So after seeing piles and piles of them on tables at the market for the outrageous price of $1 per pound, I grabbed some.
That was sarcasm, by the way. There are few vegetables that are not worth $1 per pound to me. You wave a sign saying that over produce and I’ll buy just about anything.
So after the long beans sat in the fridge for a few days a familiar thought popped in my head — I should pickle those. This time I followed through.
I am so glad I did. They turned out so well! We finished an entire jar the second I opened them! Knowing the season is quickly coming to an end, I bought 3 pounds last Friday to make a few more jars to enjoy later in the year.
I used a modified version of Marisa McClellan’s (Food in Jars) recipe that was featured on Serious Eats. She recommends water bath processing the beans to soften their slightly tough exterior. The texture was perfect and I love that this makes them more shelf stable as well.
I modified the recipe by using ginger and a Thai chile as seasoning. The Thai chile was what made them. They were spicy and tangy at the same time. I knew I would want smaller pieces of the bean so I went ahead and cut them into small pieces before I packed them.
We’ve eaten them straight out of the jar and I’ve also been chopping them up to eat over Asian noodle dishes. It’s going to take some serious self control not to finish all the jars in a few weeks!
Spicy Pickled Long Beans
Modified from Pickled Chinese Long Beans by Marisa McClellan
Makes: 2 pint jars
1 lb. Chinese long beans (green or purple), cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4, ¼ to ½ inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 Thai chiles
2 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
2 cups water
2 tbsp pickling salt
Pack the long beans into each of two sterilized pint jars. Add two cloves of garlic, two pieces of ginger, and ½ teaspoon of peppercorns to each jar. Cut a slit in the side of each of the chiles and place one in each jar.
Bring the vinegar, water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Pour half of the hot brine into each of the jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp towel. Seal with a new lid and a band. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Remove from the water bath and set jars on a cooling rack. After one hour, check to make sure the jars have sealed. Let rest for 12 hours before labeling and storing. Let sit for at least 2 weeks before eating.
If you need help with safe canning practices, please check out the resources from National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia.