A Summertime Garnish: Pickled Green Beans

Got out early today before the heat, smoke, and work took all my attention, and today’s harvest inspired one of my favorite summer things, pickled green beans. They’re quick and easy to make and perfect in place of a pickle, or as a garnish to tomato juice or a Bloody Mary. The onion slices are good in a martini, though they’re not as pretty as the tiny round onions you get when having a drink out, and the Hungarian wax peppers are great sliced on a sandwich. All are a little crisp bite of summer, and since I don’t process them, their refrigerator life is brief–no more than a month, just long enough to really appreciate the season and savor this yearly treat.

My jar holds green beans, sliced fresh garlic, fresh thyme, and hot Hungarian wax peppers, all from the garden; also white Vidalia onions, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and dried dill (we don’t grow dill anymore because it spreads like bamboo and tries to take over!) A one-to-one solution of white vinegar and water, brought to a boil, with salt added (about 1 Tablespoon for every two cups vinegar and water) is the basic brining/ pickling mixture; some recipes call for sugar but I don’t use it, preferring an herby, tart result. Wait at least 24 hours before you dip in, keep refrigerated, and make sure you gently turn the jar you use several times a day, to help distribute the seasonings.

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