John’s Dilly Beans


My kids are soon flying the coop for a few weeks, heading off to camp in Maine.  When I asked them if there was anything they wanted me to make in their last week home, my older son threw me a curve ball.  He wanted Dilly Beans.

I was completely expecting John to request BLT’s and Christian to ask for mac and cheese. There is a reason for the dilly beans, however.  In addition to the typical camp activities like hiking, swimming, and canoeing, their camp has a rather large garden and a few farm animals.  The kids can actually choose “farm” as an activity and both of my boys, to my surprise, have spent countless hours there.  A few summers ago, the boys picked buckets-full of green beans and one of the counselors helped them make dilly beans.

John came home with a small jar, with instructions to wait about a month to open it, reporting that the counselor said the beans would taste better the longer they pickled.  Three months later, I finally convinced John that enough time had passed; it would be safe to dig in.

The green beans were crunchy and delicious, perfectly pickled and a hit with everyone.  My inclination had been to blanch the green beans prior to packing them in the jars.  John said they stuffed them in the jars raw, so that’s the way we do it now.  They are delicious, and there is one less step in the process.  The best part of the recipe is that John wanted to make them with me!

John's Dilly Beans
For this recipe, I use four 12-ounce canning jars. They are tall enough that I don’t have to cut the beans and fit a nice amount. This is a simple canning process requiring no special equipment–I use one of my stock pots. If you wish to skip the processing step, simply store the beans in the refrigerator where they will keep for several months.
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  1. 1 1/4 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
  2. 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  3. 8 sprigs fresh dill weed
  4. 3 teaspoons salt
  5. 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  6. 2 1/2 cups water
  1. Pack the beans into four sterilized, 12-ounce canning jars. Place 1 clove of garlic and 2 sprigs of dill weed in each jar. Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt to each jar.
  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Pour over the beans. You may have a little extra liquid, but you want to make sure to have enough to cover the beans completely, leaving about 1/4-inch headspace.
  3. Fit the jars with clean lids and rings and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. I use a stock pot and completely submerge jars.
  1. Although the flavor will improve with each day the beans steep in the dill-vinegar solution, we taste tested one jar after just a few hours and they were quite good right away!
  2. If using a stock pot to process the jars, a rack on the bottom of the pot is helpful although not essential.
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

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  1. Beverley

    Gorgeous recipe and so simple to make…never knew about dilly beans til now and wondering if I can get them here in the UK. Lovely story too.

    Beverley xoxo

    1. Ann

      Thank you for you sweet comment, Beverly! If you can’t find them in the UK, I’ll cyberspace some your way: )

  2. Pingback: The Fountain Avenue Kitchen – Chocolate Chip Muffins

  3. Mary Lou Keller

    FAbuous timing on the FB post about these, I am going to make some! I have green beans in fridge I need to fix, was going to raost them, but think I will do this instead!

    Spending some time in my kitchen tonight and tomorrow night, and more of the marinara sauce will be made. 🙂

  4. Mary Lou Keller

    So, just now getting around to making the dilly beans Ann. Only had enough for two jars. And for some reason I didn’t see until now that I needed to process them .

    Will let you know how they turn out.

  5. Mary Lou Keller

    I went ahead and processed them, and was so excited when I heard the jar lids “ping”! my very first attempt to “can” something and I am giddy. My mom and aunt Esther were Southern ladies and canned many things. I have to say when I smell dill, it really takes me back to my childhood and summers when my mom and I visited my grandparents and my Aunt Ester had dill drying in the mud room of their farm house. So many wonderful memories.. next year I am going to plant some dill to grow!

  6. kathy farnam

    HI! I love your website!
    I have a question about the canning. You said you just use a stockpot. Do you have a canning rack that you put in the bottom? I am new to all this canning!
    Thank you!

    1. Ann

      Hi Kathy,
      Great question! While not essential, a rack is helpful at the bottom of the pot. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, and I hope you find lots of recipes you enjoy!