Pig For Victory No.12: Bottling Beans

The war years where not the freezer years. Ways of preserving, passed down through the generations, were promoted from the canning of vegetables to the bottling of beans. When the USA joined the war the canning machines came to England, and herein lies the confusion between the UK way of preserving and the canning that our American cousins are so good at. Either way, on both sides of the Atlantic, we are all working to extending the season, saving our produce. We may not can the same way but the basics are the same, air tight seals help preserve your produce and every bottle you use must be sterilised. Here's how we do Dilly Beans at Pig Row to give us a little taste of summer in winter.

Processing and preserving beans without freezing them.


2 lbs French beans
2 1/2 cups  cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups  water
1/4 cup  pickling salt
2 hot chilli peppers (dried)
4 fresh garlic cloves
4 heads fresh dill

Using dill in preserving beans.

Garlic is great for preserving. Wartime garden tricks.

Top and tale the french beans and wash in cold water. Boil the vinegar, water, and salt in a large pot and keep on the heat as you prep the jars.

Packing beans, preserving beans, bottling bean, bloody great beans!

Beans are a great vegetable to preserve and eat during the cold months.

In each of four 1 pint jars, pack the green beans. We use Kilner Jars, they aren't cheap but they are the best when preserving and they last years. To make the packing of beans easy place the jar on it's side and put the beans. Make sure the jar is well packed to stop the beans floating to the surface when you add the vinegar.

A bottle of beans looks great on your shelf.

Cut the dried chillies down the whole length and scrape out the seeds. Place one half of each chilli into each of the bottles. Two chillies will do four bottles. Add one clove of garlic to each jar and add the dill.

Pickled beans to be eaten through winter.

Pour the boiled vinegar over the beans leaving 1/4 inch gap at the top of the bottle. Remove air bubbles by gently tilting the jars to bring them to the surface. Put the bottle caps on and tighten, then unscrew by a 1/4 turn and process in a water bath for 10 minutes in pan. The ten minutes start from the time the water comes back to the boil. After 10 minutes turn off the heat and leave to cool. Wait for two weeks before you start to eat them. The flavour softens the longer you keep the beans. Eat within six months. These beans will carry you through winter.

You can view more on our #wartimegarden plans on twitter and through the following links:

Wartime Garden: Harvest Festival

Digging for Victory: The Guardian Blog