Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Beer Pickled Beans

I have become a lottie-aphobe. I couldn't be dragged there by a wild pony or chased by a gaggle of gnomes; for me the lottie is not somewhere I wish to step foot, like that game you played when you were a kid and the floor was made of lava, I'm jumping from place to place, project to project in order to stay away. Sad isn't it?

Clearing out my study yesterday I came across the scrapbook I had started when we first got our plot. It's just silly photos of 'our soil' and newspaper clippings about the council releasing land etc. There are a few photos of us (both as taken by me and the press) in there and goodness we look so much younger, so much more alive....I guess they were the salad years (excuse the pun) before we realised just how much blasted hard work goes into an allotment. God we look old now ;)

Anyway I wanted to praise my darling one for still fighting the pests, the weather and lack of interest on my side. The hubby has been there and comes home with excellent carrots, scallions, squash, turnips and chard etc. He makes me so proud.

I will get back into it again I swear. I will be his under-gardener and document taker; I will have a naughty beer or a comforting coffee (weather dependant) with him, held with mucky hands and a smile on our red cheeked faces. But for now...
We grew the best french beans in the history of french bean growing on 24a this summer. I am pretty sure they were called 'Blue Lake', at least we had a pack of those in the shed.. We had a glut and as much as we adore eating them, as much as it reminds of of our holidays in France, there truly is only so many times you can have them with dinner, or give them to family (without them rolling their eyes) and so other uses needed to be sought. Of course they freeze which is fabulous but Andrew bought himself a book a wee while ago about pickling and preserving and so....on to a new adventure!

The book, if you are interested is Alys Fowlers' Abundance, though there are many other great books out there and I would also recommend the River Cottage series. This one really caught Andrew's eye because it's so down to earth, had recipes you actually would eat and was a good price.

Andrew loves pickles, Andrew loves french beans, Andrew loves spices, Andrew loves beer = Beer Pickled French Beans = JOY, lol...  I can't give you Alys' recipe, that truly would be unfair; I can show you part of the process, which is surprisingly easy if you don't mind the stink of vinegar (which I do and which had my eyes watering for about an hour!)

The Prep..
washed jars, the ingredients A. used (inc. Belfast Ale!) and sterilised jars

The Making of..
adding spices etc to vinegar and beer mixture, a good steep, filling the jars

The Finished Item...

Since this first attempt more has been made (they don't last long in this house or when friends come over) and the jars have been more tightly packed and most recently the beans have been chopped up; to make the eating of them a little more civilised :) It has been a triumph, they are so crunchy I can hear Andrew having a sneaky fridge raid and I look forward to seeing what else we can preserve.

Namaste dear readers and remember, it's BULB buying time (see already thinking of spring!)


  1. I do hope you manage to regain your lottiephila again.

    Is there anything particular that has happened to trigger your phobia or is it just one of those inexplicable things that has descended without warning?

  2. Thanks for posting this info on pickling your french beans ! Brilliant ! Will grow some french beans next year and pickle some.. Have only done runners this year and have had a good year but have frozen them all mostly ! :) Keep it up !

  3. I am so pleased to see you posting again. I missed you:~)

    Now, I don't like pickles at all, but that last picture sure made me want to give those a try. They're so pretty in the jar.

    Regarding the "lottie," I have faith in you. You'll be back there, but we all need to take time off now and then.

    Hope you have a great day, Carrie:~)

  4. Sue - I think it started with all the unkempt paths, the abandoned plots, and associated weeds during the summer. Then I slowly just became less and less interested to the point where we are at the point that i can't be bothered :( It's not a true phobia, I just don't want to be there.

  5. Sara - oh darling, i will always bounce back ;) Thank you for waiting for me to write again xxx

    I do hate them myself but it would be so cool to gift presents like this, you've obviously put such love and effort into it... xx

    Of to catch up on your writings!

  6. Glad to see a post from you Carrie, I was just wondering how you were the other day. I always go off of gardening at this time of year. It's all suddenly mucky, damp and untidy isn't it? Lots of rotting and slugs and spiders' webs everywhere. I've been thinking about whether to keep my allotment, and I haven't been there that much lately. But every spring I get my enthusiasm back. I really hope you reach a point where you look forward to going back to yours too. The pickled beans look great by the way.

  7. I've already planted my crocus and daffodils, with just the tulips to follow in November.
    Take care, Flighty xx

  8. MUCH rather enjoy your story and pictures, than eat the evidence. More power to Andrew's elbow. Does Maggie go to the lottie, or stay home with you?

  9. I love Alys Fowler, I like watching The Edible Garden - if you havent seen it, all six episodes are on youtube :)

    Your jars with pickled beans look gorgeous!


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