I have a moderate amount of patience and an obscene amount of determination. Unfortunately, patience is a large part of the mystery that is producing a jar of beans (pickled or preserved) that stand vertical and tight in your jar.
When beans are packed tight like this, there are a few advantages:
- More fit in the jar. More beans per jar = cheaper batches.
- Beans are tighter in the jar. This means less floating.
- They look prettier.
There are two things that have helped me make more consistent jars of vertical beans: practice and a little technique. Since it’s impossible to practice stuffing beans into jars and read this at the same time, let’s focus on technique.
I start with a small handful – small is the key. I tap them on the counter so that the bottoms are flush with each other and place them in the jar while holding their tops. Since I place them inside the jar evenly, they stay that way. I rotate the jar 45-90 degrees (holding it with my hand) so they don’t shift.
With the jar on the angle, I load more handfuls of 3-6 beans at a time for a few more rounds. I stop this before it becomes difficult to do so – at this point the jar can be lifter vertically and beans should be loose without falling over. A little shake of the jar will ensure that any raised beans lower.
It is now time to start loading the jar one bean at a time, trying to stay in the middle with new additions. Gently jostle the jar to settle the contents after each bean until they no longer shift with a gentle shift. I keep stuffing the inside at this point to fill it tightly.
Stuffing the middle means that any beans that go crooked are hidden and any that break (I pack them that tight), won’t be seen to prying eyes.
Combine these hints with practice and patience and you’ll be off to the races!