Runner Bean Pickle

In Bakewell a couple of weeks ago I found Susan Slinn of Jammy Codgers  selling all kinds of interesting goodies, among them this pickle. I think it’s almost the best use for runner beans which are often a bit tough and not very flavoursome. Unfortunately Jammy Codgers doesn’t do internet sales (but you can follow them on Facebook) so I’ve been forced to find out how to make this myself.


Jammy Codger jams and pickles
Jammy Codger stall in Bakewell, source of my inspiration.


I’ve adapted from Delia Smith’s recipe, but I use cider instead of malt vinegar and I’ve added in a touch of chilli to give it a kick. I noticed Susan added some chilli so I have also added a little dried chilli.

Go here for my guide to green beans of all kinds.


This will fill about three 1 litre Kilner jars (go here for how to sterilise)


Store in a cool, dark larder for at least a month before eating.


Recipe for runner bean pickle


  • 1 kg/2 lbs runner beans (de-strung and cut – you can buy them ready-prepared in the supermarket).
  • 4 medium onions – peeled and finely chopped
  • 450g/1 lb (2 cups is 500g) demerara sugar
  • 225g/8 oz (200g is a cup) soft brown sugar – NB – you may need more
  • 1 generous tbsp. turmeric
  • ⅛ tsp (or more if you like it hot) dried chillies
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 840 ml/3½ cups cider vinegar
  • 1 generous tbsp. mustard powder


  1. Put the chopped onions in a saucepan with a cup (240 ml) of vinegar and leave to simmer for about twenty minutes.
  2. Fill another saucepan with boiling, salted, water and add the prepared beans. Boil for about five minutes, drain, and add to the onions.
  3. In a large cup, mix the cornflour, mustard, turmeric and dried chillies with a little of the remaining vinegar and mix to a paste.
  4. Add to the onions and beans, stir in well.
  5. Add the rest of the vinegar, stir in well. Simmer for ten minutes.
  6. Add both sugars. Simmer for about a quarter of an hour. 
  7. Leave to cool slightly, then TASTE !!! The beans and onions will vary in sweetness, depending on time of year, amount of sunshine etc. Add more sugar if necessary, and ensure it dissolves.
  8. Pour into the sterilised, warmed, jars.


For more about runner beans go to this post.

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