Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Saturday, August 28, 2010

10 Things Learned Whilst Making Runner Bean Pickle

1 Before you start, it's sensible to check that you did actually buy all the ingredients when you went shopping with this recipe in mind - it'll save having to race up to the little Tesco to buy missing items.

2 It's worth listening to your own advice about storing onions, so you don't have to fish through a cardboard box (kept in the mini-greenhouse) of increasing mouldy specimens to find the required amount, leaving half a dozen small relatively sound ones as the remainder of this year's entire crop.

3 If you don't keep an eye on the food processor you run the risk of liquidising, not chopping the onions.

4 Don't assume that just because the salad box in the fridge is full of runner beans, you have enough.

5 Do think about alternative ways to string & slice runner beans - the current gadget cannot cope with beans with are too thin, too fat, or variable in thickness; beans which are too soft, or beans which are too old.

6 When the beans are cooking for 5 mins in salted water, and the onions are softening in the big maslin pan with some vinegar, do check that the correct knobs on the cooker are turned to high for the beans & low for the onions - Delia doesn't say what to do if the onion isn't 'softened' but 'burned to the bottom of the pan', but I took an educated guess and sloshed in a load more vinegar on the basis that you either won't taste crispy onion, or it might add a certain je ne sais quoi to the end product.

7 Do check that you have enough kilner jars before you start.

8 If the pickle looks a bit thick when you put it into jars, don't shrug & slosh some more vinegar in, but check the recipe to make sure that you haven't forgotten a vital ingredient, like, for example, the sugar.

9 Having to return the pickle to the pan with the sugar does give you time to find & sterilise more jars

10 Although a new extractor fan will make light work of transferring vinegar smells from the kitchen to outside, it will not stop you wondering why the chippy is open at this time of night every time you go outside the back door.


  1. priceless :o) starting the day with a smile now Hazel (laughing with you of course).
    Ref. pt 5 - I grow nothing but stringless varieties now for this exact reason. The beans hold together nicely in pickles having not taken the sides off.
    Hope you managed to salvage your ingredients.

  2. Brilliant Hazel, sooo funny. Thanks for that, I was wondering what to do with all my beans.

  3. Cor, what a learning curve. I like to learn one lesson per project, for preference! I don't absorb lessons so quickly these days!

  4. Oooops :{

    But after that edifying and educational experience, did the damn stuff actually taste any good?

  5. Yes, you do look back and laaaaaaaugh, Nic - it was a cross tempered evening at the time though! I'm suspicious about beans which are billed as 'stringless', in case they are not! - do you have a variety to recommend?

    I can point you in the direction of the recipe if you which, Clare.

    I like to learn one lesson per project too, Flum - perhaps I have the next nine projects worth of 'lessons to learn' under my belt already now!

    You leave the pickle to mature for a month, Bilbo, so I don't know yet...

  6. 11. Don't offer said pickled beans to other allotment holders

  7. Cheeky, B&P - for all you know it might taste perfectly lovely!

    Mind you, I don't hold enormously high hopes for it to taste as it should (but maybe none the worse for that?) compared with my award winning courgette chutney - 3rd placed in the Show - ha!


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