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Dilly Beans

Dilly Beans

Green beans are one of the most popular vegetables for fermenting. Perhaps it's because of the light flavor they retain even after months in the crock or jar. Their flavor remains so mild that although you can serve them as a pickle, they are also suitable for use as a vegetable side dish.   

  • Duration
  • Prep Time
  • 1 liter/quartServings


  • 2.2 lbs (1 kg) green beans
  • 3 cups (700 ml) filtered or non-chlorinated water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or medium grain sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh dill


1. Wash the green beans. Slice or snap off the ends. 

2. Combine the filtered or non-chlorinated water with the salt and stir to dissolve.

3. Lay a clean glass quart jar on its side and start loading in the green beans. You'll fit more beans into the jar and they'll line up straighter if you start by putting them in horizontally like this rather than trying to get them to stay put with the jar vertical. Tuck the garlic and sprigs of dill in as you continue adding beans.

Once the jar is full enough that the green beans will hold each other in place, set it upright. Keep stuffing in green beans until you can't fit in even one more. The beans will shrink slightly during fermentation, but packing them in very tightly keeps them from floating up out of the brine.

4. Pour the salt and water brine over the green beans. Make sure that they are completely covered by the brine. Put a lid on the jar, but loosely (you want the gases that develop during fermentation to be able to escape).

5. Put a small plate under the jar to catch any overflow that may occur during fermentation. Leave the jar of green beans and brine out at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. At least once a day, take the lid off and look for signs of fermentation such as bubbles on the surface. You'll see these especially if you press gently on the food. But don't just look for signs of fermentation: also get close with your nose and sniff for that clean but tangy pickled smell that means the safe, tasty, and healthy transformation you're after is happening. Fermented green beans will smell something like a light version of sauerkraut.

6. Once the green beans have been actively fermenting for at least 24 hours, transfer them to the refrigerator or to a cool, dark cellar. You won't need the plate under the jar any longer because the cold storage temperature will slow down fermentation so much that there shouldn't be any overflow. If you put the green beans into a refrigerator, remember that the door of the refrigerator has a warmer temperature than the main compartment. If you want a more active fermentation to continue (and plan on eating the fermented green beans within a few weeks), store the jar on one of the shelves of the refrigerator's door. Otherwise, store them in the main compartment, preferably on the top shelf.