The first time I ever tasted Pickled Beans and Corn was back in the day when The Deer Hunter and I were dating. Seeing the pan of green beans and corn cooking on the stove-I wondered why these people mixed up their beans and corn before cooking-but was too shy to ask.
I must admit when I first tasted the mixture-I thought something was wrong with it-and hoped no one noticed when I scraped it into the garbage can.
For me-pickled beans and corn was a food that had to grow on me-and grow it has. Now I crave the stuff. One of my favorite meals is fried deer meat, stewed potatoes, cornbread, pickled beans and corn, and a glass of sweet tea-it just don't get any better than that.
In the days before grocery stores, freezers, and canning jars-folks had to have a way of preserving food to make it through the winter. Often they chose the pickling method.
For pickling a large amount of food they used crocks-large pottery containers-some hold up to 10 gallons. I've read, before crocks were plentiful folks used wooden tubs. After picking, the mixture could be stored in the crock-folks would dip out the product as they needed it.
Over the years as my love of Pickled Beans and Corn has grown-I've decided The Deer Hunter's Dad, Papaw Tony, is the master of pickling beans and corn. Here is his recipe:
Papaw's Recipe is for a 8 Gallon Crock-1 Bushel of Green Beans, 5 Dozen Ears of Corn, 3 Large Heads of Cabbage, Peppers to taste-you can use-banana, jalapeno, or cayenne (or you can leave the peppers out completely), 2 lbs of Pickling Salt-DO NOT use Iodized Salt it will not pickle. Papaw follows the signs and makes Pickled Beans and Corn when the signs are in the Head.
First: String and break green beans, wash well in sink.
Blanch-put in pot bring to a boil-drain-rinse again, put back in pot and boil for 30 minutes, drain and cool. (We use a gas fish fryer/turkey cooker to cook outside-this keeps the house cooler-and cooks faster)
Shuck and silk corn, bring water to a rolling boil-then add ears of corn-cook for 45 seconds. (Papaw says "if you don't bring the water to a boil first-before adding the corn-you will over cook the corn")
Drain corn, cool, cut off the cob.
Chop cabbage-Papaw uses a food processor-chop the cabbage to a small consistency-but not as small as you would for slaw. Papaw adds cabbage-because his Mother did-if you don't want to add cabbage leave it out-the recipe will still work. You do not cook the cabbage.
Chop up peppers-the amount you add depends on your taste. The Deer Hunter likes his with a little heat-so he added about 10 Jalapeno Peppers. Me-I'm hoping he didn't add to many-cause I don't like it hot. Remember you can use-banana peppers-jalapenos-or cayenne peppers. Or you can leave the peppers completely out.
Now it's time to put all the ingredients into the crock. Begin with a layer of salt in the bottom of crock, next layer of green beans-about 1 1/2 inch thick, layer of corn 1 1/2 inch thick, layer of cabbage 1 1/2 inch thick, sprinkle a few peppers, add another layer of salt.
When you've layered in all the ingredients-you add enough warm tap water to cover the mixture. As the water mixes with the salt, it will be the brine that pickles the corn, beans, and cabbage.
Use a kitchen plate to push all the ingredients under the brine water. Weight it down with 2 mason jars filled with water. Cover with a towel. After about 2 weeks the pickling will be finished.
After 2 weeks taste the mixture and if you don't think its quite right yet-leave it another week or so and check again. It is totally normal for a film of moldy looking goop to be on the very top of the mixture. Just take a spoon, ladle it off, and discard it. If the entire crock goes bad-don't worry you'll totally know by the smell-and the bugs that will be in it.
You can leave the mixture in the crock-or remove and can. We can ours using the open kettle method of canning (which means getting the pickles hot and the jars hot)-it will last several years after being canned.
Making Pickled Beans and Corn is quite a process-but it is so worth it-that we make them almost every year.
Have you ever eaten Pickled Beans and Corn? Do you like them? Have you ever used a crock for pickling?
p.s. If you have any questions about the recipe-you can email me at [email protected]