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My and my flying buddy Cal

My body is made out of dilly beans


“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”Leonardo da Vinci

Taking my second flying lesson
Taking my second flying lesson

My dad had his pilot’s license and would take me flying with him. I remember the very first time he took me flying. I was pretty little and as we took off to the skies I watched the houses and trees get smaller and smaller. I squealed and told my dad it looked like doll houses. I was in love with flying from that day on. After we had flown around a little while, he would cut the engine and show me how we could glide on our own. He explained that the plane was built for this very thing: to stay airborne naturally and then glide to safety if needed. He talked of all the safety mechanisms built into a plane and the aerodynamics of flying a smaller plane. Never once was I afraid. My dad had such confidence, not only in his own ability to fly but in the plane itself.

On my 50th birthday my sweet husband got me my first flying lesson. From the moment we started rolling down the runway till the time those wheels lifted off the ground, I could hear the voice of my dad as he said to me many years ago, “So you are gonna be my flyer?”

My flying buddy Cal.
My flying buddy Cal.

I had another flying lesson a few months ago. On this flight I realized what it was that I loved so very much about flying. It was the freedom to soar, let go, and see how high you can go.

I think all of us are firmly planted on the ground. Going through the motions and living life as best we can. Just as that plane was built to keep on gliding after the engine was cut, our bodies are built to keep on going. We can stay airborne for quite a long time. However the more we consume foods that aren’t good for us, the harder it is to keep gliding and stay airborne. I struggled to get through a life that was once filled with sickness and disease. I was still gliding, but as time went on I inched closer and closer to the ground.

Then I realized that this vessel I lived in that housed my soul was actually here to take care of and help me; if only I would work with it. It was guiding me with symptoms that were not the enemy, but warning signs that I had steered off course.

Here is what I have learned about who and what we are: We are 100 trillion cells of bacteria. That is more than cells in the body. We are in essence sacks of living microbes that out number us by the trillions. So does it make sense to you that what you eat can enhance who you are?

Soaring above Kansas City
Soaring above Kansas City

When I started eating cultured foods, everything started to turn around. The longer I ate them, the more I changed, and the easier it was for my body to keep me healthy. Each passing year I would find that problems such as allergies, aches, pains, and inflammation were lessening and then going completely away. It was like turning the plane’s powerful engine back on. I was no longer gliding towards the earth, but instead started to soar higher and higher. I began soaring through life. The struggles were gone and life became an unspeakable amount of joy.

Do you realize that your body keeps re-making itself year after year? The body you have now, you did not have a year ago. A completely new vessel constantly rejuvenating itself and making itself new. It is made out of the foods you consume, so what are you made out of?

Here is one of the foods I eat to form and make the body I live in. They are not pickles but green beans. They have a dill flavor to them so I called them dilly beans. They are fermented and super easy to make. I grab a few here and there and before I know it, I have eaten and entire jar.

So if we are what we eat. I am pretty sure that I made a lot of body parts with these dilly beans.

Love your body and it will love you back. The next thing you know… you’ll be soaring!

Dilly Beans
This is finger food. Kids and adults alike love dilly beans. They ferment fast and last for months in your fridge. ~Donna
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Servings: quart
  1. If using the starter culture, stir together the culture and water. Let the mixture sit while you prepare the ingredients—around 10 minutes. If using kefir whey, add it when the recipe calls for culture.
  2. Add the green beans, garlic, dill seed salt and pepper to a quart jar.
  3. Add the Cutting Edge Culture or kefir whey and cover with water, leaving and inch or two at the top.
  4. Seal the container and let it sit on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight, for 3 days. After 3 days, place the in the refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

Storage note: This kraut can be kept in a covered airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to nine months.

65 Responses to "My body is made out of dilly beans"
  1. Hello, I just made these and can’t wait. But, I chopped the dill and minced the garlic. Then I mixed that, along with the salt, and then packed in the jar. Is that OK? I still added the water and culture starter. Thank you!!

  2. Hi Donna! You’re the best 🙂 thank you for all your wonderfully delicious recipes. I’ve been culturing for a year and a half now, milk kefir, kraut, kombucha, pickles, kimchi. I love them all! So does my 3 year old and my husband. I’ve not had access to Caldwells until now! I bought some today and picked a ton of beans from the garden and want to make your dilly beans. I’m wondering if you need to weight down the beans when you use this starter. I usually use a clamp down jar with my pickles, kraut and kimchi. I’ve only had mold problems a couple times. I really don’t want to lose any now that I am using starter because it is pricey. So do I need to weigh them down under the brine? Thank you 🙂

  3. Donna
    With all the cultured veggies, my family is use to eating veggies warm. When I culture them, are they suppose to be cold all the time? I know heating them up causes them to lose all the good stuff but what if heating them up just a lil…. don’t they retain some of the good?

    • They really need to be in a cool cellar or fridge or fridge, They keep fermenting on the counter and can get really sour but if you eat them fast enough than they be ok. Anytime you heat them above 115 degrees you start to kill the probiotics.

  4. Must you refridgerate your fermented veggies after the 3 days on the counter? I want to put up LOT’s of ferments from my fresh garden produce, but, if I have to refridgerate all of it, I’d need another fridge or two. That would not be cost effective for me. Canning, they can be put on the shelf, but the drawbacks to canning are heating the house up, and NO probiotics. Help?

  5. Hi Donna, I love your website. This is not about dilly beans, but I want to ask you this question. I am going to put in an order so I’m going through your site making a list. Do you think we need both ancient earth minerals, and also concentrace mineral drops? Aren’t they doing the same thing? Thanks so much, Susan

  6. Hi Donna, I am wondering what I can use an alternative to the caldwells starter culture and the kefir whey? I have neither.
    Thanks so much…you have become a bit of a guru to me! Huge gratitude to you xx

  7. If you heat them up to eat them, does it destroy the beneficial bacteria?
    thank you

  8. Hi Donna, I just ordered your book on Amazon. My question is regarding your dilly bean recipe. It doesn’t say (unless i didn’t see it) whether to cook the beans before fermenting or not. Looking forward to receiving your recipe book soon from Amazon. Thank you for enlightening me about cultured foods as I was introduced to you on Hay House Radio. I enjoy getting your e- mail blog posts. Sincerely, Mark M. in Portland, Or.

  9. I love your story about flying. My dad flew in WWII in the Army Air Corps. When I flew with him I had that same confidence. He would fly stunts with me and this was our special time together. I hope you continue and love it as much as we and your dad have. We are enjoying your book and reclaiming our health day by day. Many Thanks!

  10. OH Yea!!!! I’ve misplaced my cookbook & was wanting to make these & couldn’t find your recipe – they are SO good !!!

  11. I fermented a pint of carrots with jicama. We just finished the veggies and there is a lot of juice left, (about 2/3 of a pint). Can I drink the fermented juice all at one time? Is it better to drink an ounce or so over the next few days? The Dilly Beans sound great. Thanks

    • Hi Susan, I don’t think drinking all of the juice at once would hurt you, but you’d probably get more benefit out of it by drinking a little bit at a time.

  12. Your tips and encouragement have been awesome Donna! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! Much because of the road to healing that I learned through YOU I have just finished teaching kefir to over 90 folks at my chiropractor’s office! What a hope-filled, proven message to spread to so many needing to improve health!!

    Can’t wait to try your dilly beans!

  13. I just purchased your book and now can not find the sign to sign up for the free gifts. Can you please help me. Thank you Lori

  14. Hi, Donna, I just orderd your new book from Amazon.ca
    A while ago I downloaded your book about how to make Kefir, Kombucha and cultured veggies. I tried to make sauerkraut but it smelled funny after a few days –not at all like commercial sauerkraut so I threw it out. I think it was too warm too long. I became discouraged and gave up. How can I order from you? I want Kefir starters. Do you sell to people living in Canada? Thank you,


    • Where do you live in Canada? I saw her starters in Toronto at the Big Carrot store. You can also order online.. 🙂


  15. My Mom had a similar recipe when I was a kid, but used peas with an edible pod- Dilly Peas. They were sooo wonderfully good.

  16. Donna – I LOVE your book and I am looking forward to trying your recipes! I do have a question – I would love to try your jalapeño recipe, however, my supermarket only has canned (in a glass jar) organic jalapeños right now…is it possible to take them out of the glass jar and ferment them per your instructions in the book?

  17. I wanted to cut up some mini cucumbers for a try as well. Just wondering if it hold the right properties to ferment like the beans do? it sounds sooo good! lactic acid pickles basically?

  18. can you continue to re-use the juices to keep making these 🙂 or do you need to have a starter packet every time?

    • You can reuse the juice once but after that you will need a new starter package. If you make a big batch, say 4 quarts or a gallon. The juice from this will make you another gallon.

      • Hi Donna,
        I made beets, carrots and ginger with honey, orange zest and a little orange juice.
        I can’t remember if I used the culture or some of the juice from another batch of cultured veggies.( If your recipe calls for 1/4 cup of kefir whey then that’s how much of the juice from cultured veggies I use. Is that correct or I’m I supposed to use all the juice and then add Water to cover? ) It has been 6 days the beet/ carrot mix is still not fizzy at all !
        Are they finished ? Or should I leave them out longer?
        Thank you for your help!

  19. I love your blog. We are a goat dairy in North Central Florida and sell raw milk, cheese, yogurt and kefir in the gainesville, Jacksonville area.

    We are getting more and more requests for whey for fermenting, so now we are selling it in smaller containers.

    Thanks for the work you do,

    Glades Ridge Goat Dairy

  20. I have some lovely kraut on my counter right now, could I use the liquid from that as my starter for these beans?

  21. OK, you just combined two of my favorite things… flying and fermentation! 🙂 I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling, fermenting Mama now but in a previous season of my life, was a private pilot with instrument rating. I Love all of life’s seasons!! Thanks for posting this recipe; i make dilly beans but haven’t tried fermenting them yet… YUM!!

  22. When using kefir, your recipe above calls for 2 tablespoons per quart jar. However in your free getting started guide PDF, it says 1/4 cup per quart, (if I’m reading it correctly). I believe 2 tablespoons is more like 1/8 cup of whey. I was wondering about the Discrepancy. Do you recommend less whey for green beans than you do for other veggies like cabbage? This is my very first time fermenting anything so I want to make sure I get it right. Thanks.

  23. Hi Donna, I have some whey from fermented cream cheese that I made. Is it okay to use this whey in this recipe?

  24. Sure gonna try these! Would whey from sour cream or yogurt be good enough? The milk kefir I am drinking at the moment is store bought and never has any whey.

      • Why is the whey from cream cheese OK, but not sour cream? If I make cheese from homemade cultured milk can I use that whey as a starter for all of your veggies recipes? Thank you for all of the great posts!

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