I pickled these runner beans last summer when I was finding the harvest too long and the days too short for constant chutney making. The post got buried in my drafts as I moved on to the next vegetable glut to solve. A year later I can happily confirm that these are definitely worth making if you have runner beans coming out of your ears (they got a universal thumbs up at the plot barbie last week). I used a large pickling vinegar jar to keep my beans whole (ideal for those days when you just fancy something sour to nibble) and adjusted the ingredients according to the weight of beans that fit into my jar. Last summer I could have told you how many beans that was but that handy scribble and the making-of photos disappeared long ago!
to make pickled runner beans
1kg of runner beans
300ml cider or white wine vinegar
300g granulated sugar
1 tsp ground allspice (I used whole berries as well)
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper (as you can see I used whole peppercorns)
6 juniper berries (optional – can’t recall if I did or not)
- Trim the ends off the runner beans (no need to string if their young and tender). Cut the beans into lengths about 5mm less than the height of the jar you are using.
- Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add the beans and cook until tender (about 5-8 minutes)
- Meanwhile put all the other ingredients in a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Then boil for couple of minutes. Drain the beans, add immediately to the spiced vinegar and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
- Strain the vinegar mixture into a small saucepan. Pack the beans upright into warm, sterilised jars. Return the spiced vinegar to the boil then pour over the tightly packed beans. Cap immediately with vinegar proof lids.
- Store in a cool, dark place and leave for several weeks to allow the pickle to mature.
If you still have runner beans to use up after trying this recipe you might like my runner bean chutney post.
This year: At the weekend I made piccalilli for the first time and was inspired by the simplicity and crunch of dry-brining veggies. I’d like to try that process with this recipe when I pickle my runner beans this year because cooking them produced a disappointingly grey-green floppy pickled result. The taste was great though and all the better for having waited so long to try them.