Green Bean Relish

What to do with lots of French Beans? Here’s a recipe for green bean relish, something we’ve made before and is well worth the effort.

We’ve been away for a couple of weeks and (for the first time) I’m growing French Beans in my polytunnel. As a result when we came back, I picked 2kg of beans and there are others which still need to be picked. Judging by the plants, there will also be a lot more to pick and then there are the ones at the allotment which, whilst there aren’t as many per plant, will contribute to an excess.

Obviously we’ll be eating them fresh, but at this time of year there’s lots of vegetables coming through so they need to be stored in some form or another. I don’t like frozen beans as they tend to be stringy so this is one of my solutions. Any sort of green bean can be used (french or runner) but I prefer to grow french beans (mainly dwarf but some climbing).

Overall it takes about an hour and makes enough to fill a 500ml and 250ml kilner jar. Obviously the recipe can be multiplied up but we prefer to make things in small batches.


  • 450g beans trimmed and cut into small pieces (abount 1cm long);
  • 1 or 2 onions chopped finely;
  • 250g soft brown sugar;
  • 425ml malt vinegar (we use white vinegar);
  • 3/4 tsp mustard seeds (we use black seeds);
  • 1tbsp cornflour;
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder;
  • 1 tsp turmeric;
  • 1/4 tsp salt;
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.


Put the onions, sugar, half the vinegar, mustard seeds, salt and pepper in a large pan. Bring it to the boil and simmer partly covered for about 30 minutes. Use this time to trim and slice the beans then, in another pan, boil them in salted water for 5-6 minutes draining them when cooked. Take the cornflour, mustard and turmeric and mix them together with a little water.

When the onion is cooked, add the beans and the rest of the vinegar to the pan, bring it back to the boil and simmer (uncovered) for a futher 20 minutes, then add the cornflour mixture to the pan, boil and simmer for the final 15 minutes. 

Finally put the mixture into warmed, sterilised jars and store it for about a month before opening.

About PelicanPlants

Growing tomatoes and other vegetables in a greenhouse and at an allotment.
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