Zydeco Beans – New Orleans in a Jar

A few weeks ago I attended a pickling class at an organic farm here in San Diego, and I decided to sample everything available there on principle even if I wasn’t sure I would like it. I had never had a pickled green bean before. I sampled one available there, and within a few minutes realized I could not put down the jar. They were simply amazing.

Very crisp and fresh, spicy and a little tangy, and, despite the fact that they are used regularly in New Orleans as a Bloody Mary cocktail garnish, perfect to simply snack on by themselves. These are a close relative of the traditional dilly bean, the only difference is that a zydeco bean has yellow mustard seeds and usually a little bit more hot pepper.

I made a few jars of these for the San Diego Food Swap today and they were a HUGE hit. I noticed that people began to congregate around my table a lot, and they all managed to sample the zydeco beans a few times before we swapped for anything. I also brought some lovely dill cucumber pickles, but once people sampled these, they didn’t want anything else.

Plus, they ARE pretty.

This recipe is from Linda Zeidrich’s book, “The Joy of Pickling.” If you’re even a little serious about preserving I highly recommend both of her books (she also has an excellent book about jams and sweet preserves). Her pickling book is over 400 pages of recipes for literally every type of produce … even ones you would never dream of pickling. If you just have a garden and want to try new ways to use the mounds of produce on your hands, please invest in Linda’s books.

Zydeco Beans

(from “The Joy of Pickling” by Linda Zeidrich)

  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds (I added it to a mix of whole black peppercorns, coriander, cumin and a few cloves)
  • 3 lbs young, tender beans, trimmed to 4 inches if needed
  • 6-12 small fresh or dried hot peppers
  • 6 dill heads (optional)
  • 3 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp pickling salt

Into 6 pint jars, put 1 sliced garlic clove and 1 tsp mustard seeds. Pack the beans vertically into the jars. To each jar, add 1 to 2 hot peppers and a dill head. In a saucepan, bring to a boil the vinegar, water, and salt. Pour the hot liqiud over the beans, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars and process for 4 minutes in a boiling water bath.