Monday, July 7, 2008

pickle me beets

I used to hold an opinion about beets. Beets were the food that nobody really ate. They were there in the grocery store, but you never saw anyone buying them. Beets? Ick.
Three things changed my opinion:
1. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robins
2. Falafel at Abu Nader
3. Our friend Kristin - she made us a salad once with fresh steamed beets, and it was heavenly

Since changing my opinion and deciding that beets are indeed delicious, I was delighted when Dave planted a mess of them this year. They are beautiful plants, the greens are edible, and it would be our first foray into picking for the year.
We were terribly surprised to find them already to harvest, with the biggest beets being as big or bigger than a fist. We pulled them all up this weekend.
And got right down to pickling. We followed internet instructions here and here.
We started by chopping off the greens (and saving them for a big salad later). And boiling up the beets with skins on.

After the beets were cooked,
We peeled off the stems and skins.
And heated up the beets with onions and pickling solution - we used apple cider vinegar, cloves, and cinnamon - I'm not sure what else.
Dave spooned the beets and onions into our heated jars.

Then used a ladle to fill them with the liquid.

He put the lids on.
And them lowered them into the boiling water to seal them.
(we learned a little about water displacement when he did this).
After boiling for half an hour, he pulled them out,
And left them to cool!
I took off for the yarn store after the excited part was completed, so he heard the lids pop while I was gone. I was very jealous, next time I'll stick around.

We'll keep these beauties on the shelf for 6 weeks, and then we'll try them. It's a shame we didn't taste it before we put them up because the whole house smelled delicious. Beet-y and vinegar-y, it was intoxicating. I can't wait to see how they turned out! Dave did a fantastic job (and the lion's share of the work). I can't wait to pickle and put up more foods this year - we're definitely doing cucumber pickles, plus maybe picked beans and canned tomatoes and sauces. Fun!

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