Green beans need to be cooked before eating or pickling. They contain a toxic substance called phasin, a protein that interferes with digestion but decomposes when heated. (However, we’ve all consumed raw green beans will little ill effect, I’ m sure.)
You’ll need to make your own whey to do this–commercial whey powders or dried whey won’t work. Instructions are at the end of the recipe. If you don’t want to make whey, just add another tablespoon of salt. This will, of course, make the end result more salty, which you may like. Don’t use salt with added iodine–the iodine will interfere with the pickling process.
It’s always a good idea to pour boiling water into your canning jar before filling it to sterilize it. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, empty, then proceed with recipe.
For a one quart/litre canning jar:
3-1/2 cups beans, washed and trimmed
1/2 small onion, optional
1 or 2 garlic cloves, optional
fresh herb–dill, basil, savory…, optional
1 T sea salt, essential
4 T whey, essential, or an additional 1 T sea salt
1 c filtered or spring water (no chlorine-based water!!!it won’t work), essential, plus more if necessary
1. Steam or boil green beans until until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and spread out on a dish towel to dry.
2. Put in jar, along with the onion, garlic, herb, if using all or any, leaving a good inch, or two, from the top (the pickling process causes expansion of the liquid).
3. Toss in the 1 T salt and 4 T whey (or 2 T salt). Pour in the filtered water, adding more to cover the vegetables, still leaving that headspace. Cover tightly. Over the sink, slowly turn the jar over a couple of times.
4. Put in a spot out of direct sunlight for 3 days. After this period, transfer jar to the refrigerator.
5. They’re ready to eat after this initial period, but if you can stand it, wait a couple of weeks, even longer, and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing condiment, snack, side–an incredibly healthy food.
Buy some organic, full-fat, plain yogurt-the 32 oz size. Line a sieve or colander with a clean dishcloth. Put this over a large bowl, so that there is a fair amount of room between the bottom of the sieve/colander and the bottom of the bowl. Let it drip out for at least 3 hours. Any longer and you should transfer the unit to the refrigerator to continue dripping–up to 24 hours total. Pour off the liquid (THE WHEY) into a jar. Keep whey refrigerated.
The remaining yogurt solids are edible. After the 3-hour drip, the solids will be like greek-style yogurt. After a 24-hour drip, you’ll have yogurt cheese, a spreadable, cream cheese-like food.