Quick Pickled Green Beans

“On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.”
Thomas Jefferson

True confession:  I have never made my own pickles.  The whole process scares me.  When my husband was served pickled green beans like a jewel alongside a sandwich on vacation, he raved about how good they were.  The restaurant would not part with the owner’s recipe.  So I thought I would try my hand at making some for him.  Because how often do you come across pickled green beans anyways?  Not like I could buy him some at the supermarket.image
It was surprisingly easy to make the pickled green beans in a spiced brine.  I went as far as sterilizing the jars and lids by placing them in boiling water for 15 minutes but I did not seal them.  Because bottom line, I am still a sissy when it comes to canning.  Too many microbiology courses have been imprinted on this brain.   So I called these “refrigerator” pickles and did not worry myself about any of the things that could go wrong with home pickling!  Shelf life:  1 month.

Refrigerator pickles  are quick, can be done one jar at a time which allows a home cook to experiment with flavors and vegetables. Vegetables with a little structure and denser fiber lends themselves best to the process.  Leafy vegetables, not so much.  The brine is where you can get creative: it is  basically vinegar to which you can add fresh herbs, garlic, citrus peel, salt, peppercorns, etc.

The pickled beans retained a nice crunch and had just the right amount of spice to make them interesting.  Maybe I’ll be ready to graduate to full blown canning next time!

Quick Pickled Green Beans

  • Servings: 2-20 oz jars
  • Print

2 bunches of green beans to fill your jars, trimmed to the height of your jars

2 c distilled white vinegar

2/3 c water

sprigs of tarragon

1 t garlic, minced

zest of a lemon

2 t Kosher salt

1 T black peppercorns

Place your clean jars and their lids in a large pot of boiling water.  Boil for 15 minutes and keep in the water until ready to fill.

In a large pot, bring all ingredients to a boil and cook the green beans for 2 minutes.  In your jars, place a fresh sprig of tarragon.  Using kitchen tongs dipped in the boiling water, transfer the beans to each jar.  Fill with the cooking brine, leaving about 1 inch airspace at the top.  Make sure to scoop up peppercorns, garlic and zest for each jar.  Screw lid on tight and let cool at room temperature before refrigerating.

The pickles will have the best flavor after a week in the brine although we ate some right away and they were quite good.  The pickles will keep for a month.

What will you pickle?


Sterilizing the jars and lids in boiling water.


The beans and the brine ingredients.


A quick blanching of the beans in the brine before canning.


A fresh sprig of tarragon along with the green beans and their brine are canned. Drum roll please!

Good pickling principles and recipes can be found in this excellent Sunset magazine article which I referenced for my pickling adventure:


8 thoughts on “Quick Pickled Green Beans

  1. Yeah Johanne, good for you, you tried something you hadn’t before. Years ago I made pickled cucumbers and also canned some blueberry jam. Like you however, it kind of makes me a tad nervous, so the refrigerator kind is the best. Isn’t this weather just wonderful?

  2. Johanne, I have never pickled green beans before so your recipe caught my eye! Gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am going to try them.
    Yes, I am nervous about pickling and put everything in the refrigerator and try to finish it up quicker too:) These pickled green beans look so good, they will be gone in no time, so no worries about preserving them in my house!

    • I’m so happy you will give the pickled beans a try Sandhya! It sounds like you are a pro already at pickling. These were such a surprise when they were served alongside a lobster roll this summer in Maine. Really fresh and surprisingly tasty. Let me know how yours turn out:-)

      Sent from my iPad


      • Johanne, thank you for the compliment, but I am no pro. I love pickled foods, so make small batches here and there. Wow! It is interesting that they served the pickled beans with a lobster roll in Maine. I will definitely let you know when I make them

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