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Pickled Beans and Preserving Vegetables

Updated on September 15, 2012

Pickled Beans and Other Vegetables

Where has the summer gone? Living here in the Blue Ridge Mountains I must say the summer came quickly and we had plenty of rain to sustain the vegetable crops grown locally. Gardens and fields grown for sale for commercial markets for many were difficult but alas, God in his infinite Goodness and mercy has allowed for an abundance of fresh vegetables. True to the tradition of mountain folk, many have been put into Mason or Ball jars or into freezer bags for those cold wintry days that lie ahead when they will make an appearance on the dinner table.For us, it has meant sweet corn that has been shucked, silk carefully removed with a brush,heated and creamed in the microwave and now in the freezer. Tomatoes, beans of several varieties are now on the cupboard shelves. Beet pickles, cucumber relish and yellow squash for a casserole and Sunday dinners. Okra, fresh greens, and onions have all been in good supply.

Since my childhood I can remember folks making pickled beans. I never really took a liking to them until I was an adult. It was a cold night in January when I stopped in at one of my wife's brothers home at suppertime. Not a novice in the kitchen, he was in the process of slicing some side meat (streaked meat,or fat back as most of us here in the Blue Ridge know it or if you remember Granny on the Beverly Hilly Billy's "sow belly." Most mountain cooks use pork to season about everything, especially home grown vegetables.

After having sliced enough salt pork to fill the bottom of a cast iron fry pan, he placed it on the hot stove and let it simmer to crispness. He then poured in the cornmeal mixture and placed the pan in the oven to cook. It would soon turn golden brown and have a thick crust with the meat still on the bottom of the corn bread. He then retrieved a jar of pickled beans which he put in another cast iron fry pan to heat. As always potatoes are a staple for almost any meal and this evening they would be the fried variety. A complete meal that only a country boy could love.

Pickled beans can be made from almost any variety of green beans but pole beans, greasy backs and half runners all make for some fine pickled beans. Personally, I prefer a bean with a bullet. For pickling, the old folks always used a crock or churn and would make at least a bushel. I have added a link below for those who might want to make a run of pickled beans. A lot of folks here in the Blue Ridge will not make the pickled beans if the signs are not just right and will not make them when the signs are in the bowels.The signs of the Zodiac are shown in the Farmers Almanac. Like sour kraut, also a favorite here in the Blue Ridge pickled beans can be eaten right out of the crock or put into jars and stored in a cool place. For a little variety and added spice, hot pepper such as the jalapeno may be added when pickling or when preparing for a meal.

Have you ever eaten pickled beans?

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    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

      You've got my mouth watering from the description of the meal your brother-in-law cooked. I couldn't eat that way everyday, but wouldn't mind indulging now and then.

      Great hub; voted up and Shared.

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