Home Canned Three Bean Salad

I love Three Bean Salad, but the purchased stuff is pretty expensive.  When I saw this recipe in the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” I had to try it.  I like the wax beans in the mixture – they are pretty, but hard to buy, even at Farmer’s Markets, so I asked my brother-in-law, Don, if he would plant some for me in his garden if I bought the seed and picked them.  Well, he did me one better, he brought a big bag of picked green and wax beans and left them on my patio table! 
We quickly snapped and cleaned them, and I made one batch of this salad and canned the rest plain in the pressure canner.  Next year, if I can get the beans, I’ll make at least 2 batches – I really, really like this recipe.  I think it’s better than any I’ve purchased, and really pretty too.
Pickled Three Bean Salad
  1 ½     Pounds  Fresh Green Beans -- 4 1/2 cups
  1 ½     Pounds  Fresh Wax Beans -- 4 1/2 cups
  1         Pound  Canned Kidney Beans -- or Shelled Lima Beans, rinsed and drained
  2         Cups  Celery -- sliced
  1         Large  Onion -- peeled and sliced
  1         Cup  Sweet Pepper -- diced
  2 ½     Cups  Sugar
  3         Cups  White Vinegar
  1         Tablespoon  Mustard Seed
  1         Teaspoon  Celery Seed
  4         Teaspoons  Pickling Salt
  1 ¼     Cups  Water
Rinse beans, trim ends and cut into 1 1/2" pieces.  Mix in large pot with celery, onion and pepper.  Cover with boiling water and simmer 10-12 minutes (the recipe calls for 8 minutes, but that wasn’t enough).  Drain.
Bring sugar, vinegar, spices, and water to a boil.  Simmer, covered, 15 minutes.    (The amounts are just right, only a little brine left over.  Don't boil the brine away!)   Add drained vegetables and kidney beans.  Return to a boil.
Pack hot vegetables into hot jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.  Ladle hot spiced vinegar over vegetables, leaving 1/2" headspace.
Remove air bubbles.  Wipe rim of jar clean; place hot, previously simmered lid on jar and screw down ring firmly tight.
Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

Do not change the ratio of vinegar, water and vegetables.  This is a tested recipe for water bath canning.

These cost me almost nothing to make...I had the green and wax beans from Don's garden and the sweet pepper from our garden.  The remaining ingredients cost $2.93, or 42¢ per jar.
Yield:  "7 Pint Jars"


  1. I will be planting wax beans next year too as this is one of my favorite salads. Thanks for such an outstanding recipe and idea!! dkc

  2. I am growing wax beans this year and saw this recipe in the blue book, good to know it's a keeper! :) Visiting from the Homestead Barn Hop.

  3. This is GOOD 3 bean salad. This summer was my first at making 3 bean salad and it came out perfect! I also have given it to two of my fussiest friends, and they have both loved it. I will be growing more beans next year just for the purpose of this recipe. Please keep this website alive. Thanks!

    1. We probably will as long as we're alive too!
      Glad you liked it as well as we did.

  4. I thought you had to pressure can beans for safety....

    1. These are actually a form of pickled beans...the vinegar raises the acid to a safe level for water-bath canning. That's why it's important not to alter the ratio of ingredients so the acidity level isn't too low for safety.

  5. Well that's just exciting! I've been looking for a way to keep this on the shelf. Thanks SO much!

  6. I love this recipe. Last year I couldn't find wax beans but I found purple beans at the Farmers market. Made a great looking bean salad and my husband who's not a veggie fan loved it.


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