Spicy dilly beans
We've been eating a lot of yardlong beans. The plants are so productive that I've been able to harvest a large bunch of them every two to three days.
The knife is for scale, it's just over a foot long. I prefer to harvest the beans when they're between 12 to 16 inches long so that they're still tender.
I saved up about a week's worth of beans in the refrigerator so that I could make spicy dilly bean pickles. I know...I should have weighed the beans before I started chopping. I do know that it took me over two hours to cut them all into 4-inch lengths. Ok, so it didn't help that I had put some music on and would periodically have to put the knife down for a dance break. The chopped beans filled my two largest mixing bowls and I ended up making two batches of pickles in order to use them all. So according to the recipe, that would be about six pounds of beans!
For the first batch, I used all homegrown spices: dill seed, garlic, and homemade chile powder. I ended up using all of the dill in the first batch, so I opted for a different flavor profile for the second batch, a store-bought panch phoron: mustard seeds, cumin, nigella, fennel, and fenugreek. As a finishing touch, I also added a whole dried chile pepper to each jar of the second batch.
This blurry photo (sorry, I kept getting a huge glare on the glass jars) does not show how prize-worthy they are. I intend to submit a jar from the dilly first batch for the DC State Fair's "best non-cucumber pickle" contest. I like how the brine has turned red from the beans.
I've been developing ideas for the DC State Fair's jam and ice cream contests as well, so stay tuned.