Dilly Beans



Students will understand the concept of preserving food to make it last longer


How do we use plants from the garden?

How can we make the food from our garden last longer?


String beans (stems removed), half pint jars with lids, fresh dill, peeled garlic cloves (optional), pre-made pickling brine (water, vinegar, salt), container with a spout to hold brine, an already assembled jar of dilly beans, masking tape/sharpies to label jars with names, IGS stickers (optional), letter for parents explaining what dilly beans are and what to do with them


Set up:

Make brine- mix 1 cup water, 1 cup white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or 2 teaspoons pickling salt. Boil until salt has dissolved, and store in a container with a spout in the bottom so the children can safely fill their own jars. Wash beans and remove stems before class, assemble a jar of dilly beans as an example. Write a letter for parents to take home explaining what dilly beans are, since many people haven’t heard of them


Show students the bowl of beans, let them taste one if they want. Ask what they would do if they got these many beans from their garden. Would they be able to eat that many beans? What would happen if I put these beans in the fridge and left them there until Christmas? Would they still be good? What can we do to make sure these beans don’t go bad? Explain that dilly beans are similar to pickles, but we use beans instead of cucumbers. When we cover the beans with salt and vinegar, it keeps them from going bad.


  1. Give each child a jar with the lid removed
  2. Pass around the bowl of dill and have each child put a few pinches in their jar. Remind them that the dill came from our herb garden, let them taste it if they want.
  3. Let the kids fill their jars with as many beans as they can fit. They might need to break some into smaller pieces to fit in the jar.
  4. When the jars are full of beans, help them fill it the rest of the way with brine. Screw on the lid and label with the child’s name.
  5. Store dilly beans in the fridge until pickup.

Wrap up/ Assessment:

Ask what the beans look like. Do they look the same as before they were put in the brine? What do we think they’ll look like by the end of the day? What about in a few weeks?


In the fall, children harvest from the garden, taste new foods, cook together and visit local farms. During the winter, they learn about the traditional process of turning wool into felt, yarn, and woven fabric. When the weather warms, children discover the magic of seeds and explore their growing garden.