When I saw that the May topic for the Food In Jars mastery challenge was cold pack canning, I didn't have a huge dilemma about what to make. I love dilly beans, and they're so expensive--$13 a quart the last time I picked up a jar at the store to look...and quickly put it back on the shelf--that I figured the challenge would be a nice excuse to make some at home.
So, I dutifully bought two pounds of green beans and some vinegar--I already had the spices on hand--and tucked the beans into the crisper drawer with thoughts of getting to them within a few days.
A week latter, when I remembered they were there, they were green beans no more. I had slime beans. Or, more accurately, the chickens had slime beans, for their dinner.
The next week, I decided to try again, this time with just a pound of beans.
But, although I halved the beans, I forgot to halve the brine in the recipe I was using. I filled two wide-mouth pints with beans, spices, and brine, but I ended up pouring the rest of the brine down the sink.
In case you weren't keeping track at home, that's 2 pounds of green beans and about 2 cups of vinegar completely wasted, in addition to the beans and brine I actually, successfully canned.
But, you know what? I did the math and I still came out ahead--significantly ahead, even.
Including the stuff I threw away, these 2 pints of dilly beans (which equal a quart, for the math challenged) cost $7. Even if you throw in a few bucks for the spices that I had on-hand, that's still a deal. And, goodness, think if I hadn't let time get the best of that first batch of beans!
My conclusion is that I know what the solution will be, from now on, when I have a hankering for dilly beans.