Recipe: Excellent Green Bean Relish

This is not a chutney nor a pickle. Although it contains many of the same ingredients and is cooked in a similar way, it doesn’t have the “jammy” consistency I associate with a chutney nor the vinegary taste of a pickle. Its a good way to use up the glut of beans we get at the start of the bean season, keeps well and tastes good with anything that you would use a chutney or pickle with.

The ingredients in italics are from our garden.


  • 600g Beans (French or Runner) relatively finely sliced;
  • 2 Onions chopped;
  • 270g soft brown sugar;
  • 473ml malt vinegar;
  • 1tsp mustard seeds;
  • 1.5 tsp turmeric;
  • 2/3 tsp dry English mustard powder;
  • 1.5 tbsb cornflower;
  • 1/2 tsp salt (plus some to cook the beans);
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.


Put the onions, sugar, half the vinegar, mustard seeds, salt & pepper in a pan, bring it to the boil and simmer half covered for 30 minutes.

Whilst the onions are softening, cut up the beans they want to be a sensible size to go on your fork. Then cook them in lightly salted water for about 5-10 minutes until tender. (I find chopping the beans and cooking them takes the 30 minutes your simmering the onions.

Drain the beans and add them to the onions together with the rest of the vinegar. Bring the result back to the boil and simmer for a further 20 minutes. Whilst this is happening, mix the turmeric, mustard powder and cornflower with a little water. Then, when the beans are done add the cornflower mix to the pan. Return to the boil and simmer uncovered for a further 15 minutes.

Bottle in sterilised, warmed jars. Let it cool down then store in the fridge.