lola rugula red lentil chili with black beans

spicy dilly beans

Green bean overload happens every year in my garden, so it’s a good thing they freeze well. Another great way to preserve them is to pickle them in a spicy brine. Bloody Mary. Red Beer. Hot Tomato. Michelada. Bloody Caesar…if you like your vodka or beer with a bit of tomato juice and a touch of heat, these spicy dilly beans are calling your name. But even if you’re not enjoying an adult beverage, these are good in salads, antipasto platters and straight out of the jar.

You can ramp up the heat with these a number of ways, depending on what you have on hand when you process them. I made this batch 1/2 with crushed dried pepper flakes and 1/2 with hot jalapenos from the garden. Be creative here – fresh and dried peppers both work. The level of heat is also in your hands, so make these your own.

Although this is a recipe for canned dilly beans, you don’t have to process these to enjoy them. Just simmer them for about 10 minutes in the brine, let cool, pop into a covered jar or glass container and refrigerate them. Because of the vinegar, these will keep in the fridge for a few months, no processing required.

This makes about 6 pint jars.


spicy dilly beans recipe


  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 4 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt

Per pint jar:

  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 large fresh dill head
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes OR sliced fresh jalapeno
  • 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • About 2 cups fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed (enough to pack the jar)

Sterilize jars, lids and bands for 10 minutes. Leave in hot water until ready to use.

In a large pan, add water, vinegar and pickling salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

In each sterilized jar, place 2 cloves crushed garlic, dill head, dill seed, hot peppers and peppercorns. Pack with green beans.

Pour hot brine over green beans, filling jar to 1/4 inch of rim. Wipe rim clean and seal with lid and band. Repeat for each jar.

Place packed and sealed jars into a boiling hot water bath, making sure water level is at least 1 inch above jars. Cover, reduce to low boil (but make sure water continues to boil) and process for 10 minutes. Carefully remove jars from water and let sit, undisturbed, until cool.

Store for at least 4 weeks before enjoying, to let the flavors really come together.

Any jars that don’t seal can be stored in the fridge.

I can seriously eat a jar of these by myself, that’s how much I love them. And feel free to switch this up with apple cider vinegar – it’s just as delicious, with a little different tang.

These little beauties also make great gifts, so something to keep in mind as your garden is winding down.


lola rugula red lentil chili with black beans

corn relish salsa

It’s that time of year again! (I mean canning time, of course) First on the canning schedule this year was corn salsa (or corn relish, if you prefer). Skelly’s Farm Market, a local farm stand, is selling the sweetest, juiciest sweet corn right now and I just had to preserve some of it. I’ve not canned corn salsa in a few years, so we were long overdue for a new batch.

Luckily, I was able to track down my old recipe in my pile o’ recipes, full of scribbles and notes and such. This is, obviously, a canning recipe, but feel free to cut it in half and make some for the fridge. It’s great as a salsa or relish and the possibilities for it are almost endless.

You can also customize this as you like, though if you are canning it, try and stick close to the measurements. If, for example, you don’t want yours very spicy, substitute some celery, or bell peppers or more corn for the hot peppers.

lola-rugula-hot-corn-salsa-relish-canning-recipehot corn salsa relish canning recipe

Makes 6 pints

  •  18 ears sweet corn, shucked and cleaned, cut off the cob (8 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (do not use a butter substitute)
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 large jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced (3/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cider and/or white vinegar

Have your jars, lids and bands sterilized and ready to go.

In a large pan, melt butter until bubbly. Add onion, jalapeno and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add bell peppers, celery, sea salt and pepper. Saute another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add vinegar and bring corn mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and pack corn salsa into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

Wipe rims of jars, place seals and bands on jars, and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Remove jars from bath and let sit, undisturbed, for 24 hours. If any seals have not sealed correctly, place in refrigerator, otherwise, place sealed jars in cool dark place to store.


I’m sure I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. The biggest time-suck with canning is making sure everything is sterilized and ready to go. Once everything’s ready, it’s really a pretty quick process. These should seal almost immediately upon removing from the hot water bath; mine take 5 minutes at the most.

This is one of the best ways to preserve fresh sweet corn and it makes a lovely gift, since it’s not something you can usually find on your grocer’s shelves.

Again, we like ours pretty hot, so I tend to add a lot of jalapeno. Feel free to mix it up with a different hot pepper or just substitute sweet bells for the hot ones.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer so far!