A Tasty Recipe for 3-Bean Salad

Moving Beyond My Dilly Bean Recipe


My bean plants have been growing splendidly this year, which means I have made my Dilly bean recipe more times than I can count. When I picked my most recent harvest, I just couldn’t stand the thought of another round of Dilly Beans so I went in search of something new to make. In my Ball Blue Book: Guide To Preserving, I found a recipe for 3-bean salad. This classic recipe called for different kinds of beans than the ones I grew as well as some ingredients I didn’t have at hand so I modified it a little. I am going to share with you what I came up with in case you, too, can’t stand that Dilly Bean recipe anymore.

First, I began in the garden. I picked from a variety of plants so I’d have a mix of at least three beans for my salad. In the spring when I was reading about how to grow green beans, I kept seeing that they do well on trellises, so my husband made me one for my plants. It has worked magnificently for growing string beans. I decided against growing bush beans because I wanted mine to climb and use the trellis. The varieties I ended up with were: Kentucky Wonder Pole, Purple Podded Pole, Sultan’s Golden Crescent, and Ideal Market. I purchased all my seed from Seed Savers Exchange.

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So, back to the garden. I picked and picked until I had a huge basket of beans.

That evening, I spent the whole length of a movie trimming and cutting the beans into 1” pieces. I ended up with about five pounds of trimmed assorted garden beans.


The next day, I sliced a large red onion into thin strips.


I also picked seven small sweet peppers from the garden and cut them into small pieces. This amounted to about two and a half cups of peppers.


I mixed all of these vegetables in a large pot and covered them with water. The pot went on the stove until it was boiling. I cooked the vegetables about ten minutes then drained them in a colander.


Meanwhile, I made the brine by mixing eight cups of cider vinegar, four and a half cups of water, three tablespoons of salt, two and a half teaspoons of celery seed, two and a half tablespoons of mustard seed and two cups of honey.

I brought this to a boil for a few minutes to blend the flavors. It was a beautiful golden color speckled with herbs and spices.

Now I was ready to fill my jars. I always sterilize my jars in the dishwasher. You can also put them in your boiling canning pot to do the same thing. I packed the clean jars with the cooked vegetables and poured brine over them, leaving about a half-inch of headspace. After wiping the rims and applying the lids and bands, the jars went into a hot water bath for 15 minutes. This quantity made five and a half quart jars.


Here is the 3-bean recipe in a shorter version, for use in your kitchen. Print it out and tuck it in with your list of things to try! In case you want to try the Dilly Bean recipe I made most of the summer, I’ll give you that too. My middle stepson loves Dilly Beans. He just eats them out of the jar with a fork, but my husband and I enjoy putting them on sandwiches for an added crunch. A friend of mine told me she likes to put them in a martini instead of an olive — lots of possibilities!

Recipe for 3-Bean Salad

(modified from Ball Blue Book: Guide To Preserving)


  • 5 lbs garden beans, washed, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2.5 c sweet peppers (about 7), diced
  • 8 c apple cider vinegar
  • 4.5 c water
  • 3 T salt
  • 2 c honey
  • 2.5 T mustard seed
  • 2.5 t celery seed
  • 5 to 6 quart jars


  1. Trim and cut up all your vegetables. Mix them together in a large pot and fill the pot with water to cover.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and cook ten minutes. Drain the vegetables and set them aside.
  3. Make your brine by mixing together the final six ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the honey and salt.
  4. Pack your prepared jars with cooked vegetables. Pour hot brine over to fill, leaving about ½” headspace.
  5. Wipe rims. Apply lids and bands. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the jars and let them cool.
  7. Check seals, clean jars, and label contents.

Erin’s Dilly Beans


  • 2.5 c apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 c water
  • 2 heaping T salt
  • 2 lbs green beans, washed, trimmed and cut in half
  • 5 t dill seed
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2.5 t black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill, pulled apart into sprigs that will fit into jars
  • 5 pint jars


  1. Sterilize 5 pint-sized jars in your canning pot or the dishwasher.
  2. Combine vinegar, water, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. To each sterilized jar add 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1 clove of garlic (or 2-3 cloves if you prefer garlicky pickles), 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, and a few sprigs of fresh dill.
  4. Pack the beans into the jars. If you put a towel on the counter and tap the jar gently on it, the beans will settle nicely down into the jar.
  5. Pour the hot brine over the beans, leaving about 1/2″ headspace at the top.
  6. Wipe the top of the jars. Apply the lids and bands. Process 10 minutes.
  7. Remove jars and let them cool.
  8. Check seals, clean jars, and label contents.

If you liked this story, you might also enjoy these homemade vinegar recipes and more tips on food preservation methods.


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