Spicy Pickled Green Beans

Canning my way into Summer

I started with ten pints and now a week later as I write this, I am down to four. After I finished with delivery, I will only have two. Boo hoo hoo. Looking on the bright side, my purpose was to give a jar to my neighbors on the block.

Now this recipe is similar to my grandmother's one that I posted a while back but I changed it a bit to reflect a more us, a more southerly Alabama taste and one with Max's approval. Max as you know is our pet son and best friend. I always put a label on my canning items and since Max loves green beans and the fact that everybody in the Oakleigh District knows Max, I thought these should have his name on them. It is so true that every one knows Max. As we walk around the neighborhood, everyone waves and yells 'Hey Max', even folks I have never seen. Strangers in cars, on bicycles and joggers too. Craziest thing I know. 

And in case you are wondering, Prince Maxwell is part of his name and the plaid background is the official plaid of the Maxwell clan.

Enough - on to the recipe . . .

These are spicy, wonderful flavored and I can eat them right out of the jar. I cannot wait to serve them in Bloody Marys although I know I will have to make another batch. The first jar we opened, I added on our vegetable plates we enjoy during the week and these were especially good with the butter peas. As an afterthought, the leftover brine is going to make a great marinade for my next grilled chicken. Yup, that's the secret behind that major chain's chicken, ya know, the one with the 'moo cows'.

For canning info, refer to the recipe for my grandmother's pickled green beans.


Church St. Spicy Pickled Green Beans
you can make less pints using refrigerator method -see note below

makes 10 pints

4 pounds of trimmed green beans (buy 7-8 lbs for perfect 4-inch pieces)
5 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
5 cups distilled water
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canning salt

for each pint jar:
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
3 or 4 strips of red bell pepper (or chopped)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or 1 small red chile pepper halved)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed

Sterilize jars, lids and seals for canning and prepare the bath of water in your canner.

Have beans rinsed and pre-cut into 4-inch lengths (for regular wide mouth jars) or cut to fit into your jars leaving 1/2-inch to the top of the jar. Pack jars with the green beans leaving room for the garlic. Add the bay leaf and bell pepper to the side of the jar and pack tightly with more beans.

Add the chile or crushed red pepper, mustard, dill and coriander to each jar.

In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the sugar, salt and stir until completely dissolved.

Pour the hot mixture into each of the jars leaving 1/4-inch head space. Attached lids and rims. Processing time is 5 minutes in water bath.

NOTE: you can also make 1 or 2 pints at a time without doing the water bath. Just place in the refrigerator after cooling and allow to mellow for at least a week.


  1. These pickled green beans sound so good. I have only had them once and I was a small child. I can't wait to try this recipe.

  2. Those pickled green beans sound great. On a scale of 1-10 how spicy would you say these are?

  3. @Heidi ... well I guess it depends on who's scale - I would give it a 3 but then I know many of you might say higher ... these do not have a very high heat level to me, the spiciness comes from a combination of the tangy vinegar, the spices as well as the crushed peppers

  4. they sure do make for a pretty shot

  5. I love pickled green beans. That red pepper is a great addition for a spark of color.

    It was fun to hear about Max. What a character he must be!!

  6. These look so yummy. I can't wait to try them.

  7. I just made these this morning. Subbed celery seed for coriander because that's what I had. Question, how long does it take for the favors to meld? And, since this is my very first canning experience, would these expire if not eaten by a certain date? I'm planning on giving them away as hostess gifts and I'm a little worried about the garlic overpowering everything else.

  8. @Kathryn - hope you like these as much as we do, I just made a few more from the tender spears available this time of year & gave away most - the garlic is not overpowering at all, don't worry ... celery will certainly give these a different taste, let me know how you like them ... these will keep a long time (several months) in the fridge although they do not in our house, I imagine the longer they set, the flavors will meld together better and become a better 'pickle-ly' intense

  9. This is a great recipe; i am on my 2nd batch and will make more (so far in 2 weeks i got 24 lbs of beans out of the garden!). They are delicious:) Do you think you could use the recipe with cucumbers for pickles?

  10. This recipe looks so good I made it yesterday. My beans look as though they faded to a dull green color. Was I supposed to blanch them first? They do not look as good in the jar as yours:)

  11. @Noelle Rae - boy, I think I would like to try that batch. Let me know how it turns out.. maybe you're on to another pickle recipe!

    @Jodi - no... no need to, the hot solution of pickling brine addition should do it. Now, I have had a similar experience with older, or later in the season beans... that is, grown in drier conditions, that said, come to think of it, the appearance of the bean was not a bright green to begin with...

  12. I am on my second batch. I messed up and added 1 tsp of mustard seed and pepper flake to my second batch. How much do you think the extra mustard seed will affect the taste? I am using pint and a half size jars.

  13. @ Anony - well, since you increased the jar size, I do not think the mustard will be noticeable that much, but you should have a bit more heat ... and that is okay too, as to me, these are really not that spicy hot, - what did you think on your 1st batch? If the 1st ones were hot to you, then you'll know what to expect.

  14. This sounds devine and we are just now getting in our beans. I loved them in bloody mary's in New Orleans and have been chasing a recipe for 15 years. Just wondering is I can sub a fresh jalapeno or two(we like spicy)for the crushed red pepper?

  15. Just wondering if the beans are sweet. I noticed quite a bit o sugar in the recipe.

  16. @Jelly House - by all means, kick it up a bit, I think jalapeno will be great and give a different heat than red peppers
    @anony - no, these are not sweet - the sugar is not noticeable at all, it is there to cut the bite from the acidic vinegar

  17. I'm the one who asked if the beans were sweet. I made these beans and they are frickin' awesome and I've only let them sit for two days! Looking forward to the flavours in a couple of weeks! And you're right, can't taste the sweetness at all. Should I refrigerate all the unopened(sealed properly) jars? I was just reading an article about botulism and green beans. They keep referring to green beans as low acidic food but they don't mention if vinegar/water solution is enough to make pickled beans safe. Your thoughts?

  18. @Anoy -re:Lisa ... thanks so much for your, er, kind words... this same question came up back when I posted my grandmothers bean recipe and this is what I said - "green beans are borderline in the low acid group, around ph 5 I believe whereas 4.6 is the cutoff for waterbath vs pressure canner, so I was taught. Now white vinegar normally runs 4% acidic" … "this recipe has been made by many family members for 3 generations, many have died but not from these green beans… but if you feel better, use a pressure cooker… 5 minutes, as it reads, it the time after the water comes to a full boil"
    - the last statement was questioning the 5 minutes as being not long enough to process.
    - and no, our family does not refrigerate processed jars... we would have to buy an extra one!


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