Allow 1lb/450g salt to 3lb/1.5kg beans, but be sure to use block kitchen salt or bag salt recommended as kitchen salt, as table salt contains chemicals which make it unsuitable for preservation. Also be sure to follow quantities exactly for successful bean preservation, and pack into glass or stoneware jars.
Use young, fresh, tender beans, wash and dry them and remove strings. French beans may be used whole, but runner beans must be sliced. Put a layer of salt in the jar and then a layer of beans. Continue with alternate layers, pressing down the beans well and finishing with a layer of salt. Cover and leave for a few days until the beans have shrunk and the jar needs topping up. Put in more layers of beans and salt, finishing with a layer of salt. The salt will draw moisture from the beans and become a strong brine. Cover with a moisture-proof lid such as a cork or plastic material tied down tightly. Do not stand stoneware jars on stone, brick or concrete floors as moisture will be drawn up.
To use the beans, remove some from the jar and wash thoroughly in several waters. Soak for 2 hours in warm water but do not soak overnight, or the beans will toughen. Cook in boiling water without salt until the beans are tender.
If the beans become slimy and do not keep, it is because insufficient salt has been added, or the beans have not been pressed down enough in the storage jar and air pockets have formed, allowing bacteria or moulds to develop.
© 1978 Mary Norwak estate. All rights reserved.