We Can Phickle That! is a weekly feature that will run from now through the end of produce season(s), I’ll be hitting up the farmers markets in search of the best seasonal vegetables to ferment. I’ll share my successes and favorite flavoring combinations with you on Thursdays until the produce becomes sad and sparse. If you don’t get the reference, please watch this hilarious video clip that approximately 3,000 of my closest friends and family members have sent me.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned at the food swap, it’s that heat is extremely subjective. I’ve had people tell me they love things hot and spicy and then choke on something that I don’t even think is remotely hot. (Swap hint: label hot stuff in super large, bold lettering). When I was in Peru I had a restauranteur at a foreigner-friendly joint basically freak out with repeated offers to replace my meal if it was too spicy, which was, to my taste buds, not even remotely spicy. In fact, I never had anything too spicy to eat in Peru, despite repeated warnings that my gringa mouth couldn’t handle their peppers. The hottest thing I did consume was a pisco cocktail made with an infusion of aji limo. It was unbelievably tasty, but not that spicy.
All this is to say that I enjoy a decent amount of heat and maybe you enjoy a decent amount of heat. Maybe we would talk about it and think we like the same level of heat. But probably we’d be wrong. So use a grain of salt (in addition to the grains of salt you dissolve into your brine) when adding heat. And you heat-haters (or people who think you like hot stuff but really can’t stand any amount of heat (btw, why do you do this? You’re only hurting yourselves, and it’s not that cool to eat heat, I promise)). I made these a little spicy. People who don’t like heat will not like them. People who do like heat will eat them and then say, “Oooh! These are actually a bit hot. I like it!” So if you fall into the first category, your takeaway from this post is that green beans ferment beautifully. My friend Corey assumed that these were meant to be bloody mary garnish, and I think he’s right!
HOT AND SPICY GREEN BEAN PICKLES
yields 1 quart
A word on the hot pepper flakes: I like to get mine from Asian or Indian markets, where they are clearly hot peppers that have been dried and flaked. They tend to be much hotter (and a brighter, prettier red color) than the good ol’, pizza parlor, red pepper flakes. If you like it super hot but only have roundy, grocery store flakes, feel free to throw in an extra tablespoon or add a couple more hot peppers.
If you’re new to fermented pickling, I recommend reading through this pickling basics guide before you get started.
- 3/4 or a quart of green beans, choose beans that are approximately the same length and circumference
- 4 Tablespoons of hot pepper flakes
- 1-2 fresno or cayenne peppers
- 1.5 cups of brine (1 Tablespoon plus a teaspoon of salt, dissolved in room temperature water)
- Mix your brine.
- Thoroughly wash your green beans removing any soft parts and the stem end.
- Place your hot pepper flakes into the bottom of a quart jar.
- Put your beans into the jar, whole and upright. I start with a handful and then work the other beans in around them. I pack them very tightly, and then pack the whole, de-stemmed hot peppers in around the sides for a lovely visual effect. If your beans are too long, trim or halve them. You need them to be just below the jar’s shoulders or covering them with brine will be tricky.
- Pour brine over the whole deal, ensuring that it covers the tops of the beans.
- Use your favorite method to submerge and cover the vegetables.
- Let them sit at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 2 weeks or until they taste acidic enough for you.
- When they’re right for you, put a lid on the jar and stick them in the fridge.
- Enjoy as a crunchy, spicy snack or in a bloody mary (or maybe a bloody carry or bloody kim?).