Lacto-fermented Dilly Beans


Green beans are transformed into a tangy, crunchy, flavorful snack or side dish when they are made into dilly beans. The usual process for making these involves distilled vinegar and a water-bath canner during the hottest months of the summer.

An easier and more nutritious means of making dilly beans is to lacto-ferment them. Lacto-fermenting produces lactic acid which not only gives dilly beans their ubiquitous tang, but also preserves them without canning so that they will keep in cold storage for months with all their enzymes and vitamins intact.

So the next time you have an abundance of green beans, try these simple lacto-fermented dilly beans and give your canner (and your kitchen’s temperature) a break.


  • 1 pound young green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 large handfuls of dill (flowering heads preferred, but leaves work well too)
  • Water and salt for brine


  1. Make a brine with a ratio of 2 to 3 tablespoons of sea salt to every 1 quart of water. Set aside.
  2. In each of the quart jars divide up the red pepper flakes, garlic cloves, peppercorns, and dill.
  3. Place the green beans on top of the seasonings, straight up if they are long and thin or sideways if thicker and cut into chunks. Cover with your brine solution up to 1 inch from top of jar.
  4. Seal tightly with a lid and allow to ferment at 60° to 80°F for 3 to 10 days, tasting to determine when it has fermented to your taste. (It will get tangier as it ferments.)
  5. Transfer to cold storage.

Makes 2 quarts.


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