It seems like every few days I’m harvesting handfuls of beans from my garden. We love to eat them fresh off the vine, but one can only eat so many beans. A great way to preserve beans, besides freezing them, is make some fermented green beans.
As with most recipes I write, the process is super simple. Feel free to add additional herbs, such as dill, as you desire to transform the flavor.
Enjoy these fermented green beans as a quick, healthy snack or chop them up and add them to a salad. They make a delicious cucumber pickle substitute and garnish a Bloody Mary perfectly.
Yield: 1 quart jar
- 1/2 pound green beans (tender ones)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Optional for spice: 1 jalapeno (or hotter pepper of choice), sliced into quarters
- 1 tbsp. coarse kosher salt, dissolved in 2 cups water
Wash beans and trim off both ends to fit your canning jar (about 5 1/2 inches long).
Place the garlic at the bottom of the jar and pack in the beans vertically. Try to fit the beans as snug as possible, without bruising or damaging them. During fermentation they will shrink and begin to float. If adding hot peppers, pack them within the beans.
Once the jar is packed, pour in the brine until the beans are completely submerged and covered by at least 1/2 inch of brine, but be sure to leave 1 to 2 inches of headspace in the jar (space from the top of the beans to the rim of the jar). Leaving some space will help keep the ferment from bubbling over during fermentation.
If you have a small fermentation jar weight, add it to the jar to hold down the produce under the brine. Remove any small pieces of food that float up to the top of the brine, as anything above the brine will increase the risk of mold and, ultimately, spoilage.
Wipe off the rim of the jar with a clean, dampened towel. Add the canning jar lid and tightly screw on the ring.
These fermented green beans are a 10 to 14 day ferment. Ferment at room temperature, ideally between 60 to 75 degrees F, and keep out of direct sunlight.
Check on the ferment daily to make sure that the brine is covering all the produce. If any produce has floated above the brine level, use a clean utensil to push it back below the brine.
Burp the jar daily—unscrew the lid briefly and tighten it back on to allow any built-up gas to release (and avoid possible jar breakage or the ferment from overflowing).
After 10 days, taste the beans and see if they taste garlicky, tangy and a bit sour. If they still taste too much like raw beans, allow them to ferment another couple days and taste them again. Once fermentation is complete, transfer the jar into the refrigerator, with the brine and all.
Fermentation does not stop once the ferment is transferred to the refrigerator. However, it does slow the process way down. The taste and texture will continue to change, therefore this ferment is best enjoyed within 12 months.
If you do not have a glass jar weight, you can improvise by using an easily removable small food-grade glass dish that fits inside the jar. Or, if you have a smaller glass canning jar that can fit into the mouth of the jar you are fermenting with, you can use that to keep the produce pushed under the brine.
If you are unsure if your water is safe for fermentation, you can boil it and allow it to cool to room temperature before stirring in the salt to make your brine.
You may substitute fine sea salt instead of coarse kosher salt if you prefer. The measurement will remain the same for this recipe.
It is completely normal for the brine to turn cloudy during fermentation or to see sediment on the beans. This is a sign that fermentation is taking place, just as it should.
This recipe has been adapted from Stephanie Thurow’s Can It & Ferment It, with permission from Skyhorse Publishing Inc.