This is the scene that greeted me this morning.
And then there will be BEETS! It won’t be long until these little beauties come fresh to a store or garden near you.
Beets are pretty versatile little amaranths. They can be boiled, steamed, roasted or pickled. Even raw they can be shredded and eaten on or as a salad. In New Zealand and Australia it is popular to throw one on a hamburger. Watch your aim, please.
And their greens make delicious, well, er . . . greens. You know, like spinach. Tasty and nutritious from stem to stern!
At New Year’s we were spending the weekend with friends, Roy and Roberta (Slug and Bert), in Roswell, New Mexico. “Hi, Bert!!!” Have to give a big shout out to my BFF. Anyhoo, Roberta gave me a jar of her homemade Pickled Beets to take home. What a gift!! We got home and, as much as we tried to ration them, they were gobbled up.
And they were gone. Long gone. No more. Nada. Bye, bye. . . *sniff* . . .
The 40W lightbulb on top of my head began to flicker. I decided right then I would have to break down and learn how to can. Ugh. I tell you, learning something new ain’t for sissies. But you’ve just gotta jump in with both feet and do it! So, I did.
Here’s my beauties.
Nope, you’re not seeing things. Those are pickled Golden Beets in the middle. Not sure if they really have a milder, more buttery flavor, or if the voices in my head (and my eyes) have tricked my gray matter into thinking that. So, try them and let me know.
Did you know, a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dish is Red Beet Eggs. Refrigerate hard-boiled eggs pickle juice and let them marinate until the eggs turn a deep pink-red color. OMWord! They are not only really pretty, but great tasting. Kinda like a deviled egg, . . . but not.
Sorry, I digress. Anyway, I was so excited that I ran out and bought a real canning pot. The first go around was pretty makeshift, but my seals sealed and my beets pickled and all was right with the world.
I know your salivary glands are working overtime just thinking of these tangy sweet nuggets.
adapted from “Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook – Prize recipes from the Farms of America”, edited by N. Nicholls and C. Larson 1963
24 small beets (2-2 1/2″)
3 medium onions (2-2 1/2″)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp canning/pickling salt
1 cup water
6 whole cloves (Roberta put extra cloves in her jars before putting on the lids. I do the same.)
1 stick cinnamon
Remove beet tops (greens). You can store these in your refrigerator and we will talk about what to do with them in the next post.
Wash beets well. Put beets in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave until tender, but not mushy. Different microwaves, different cooking times. Check after 10 minutes on high and continue to microwave for 2 or 3 minutes at a time until done. Tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from microwave and carefully remove plastic wrap. Watch out for the burst of steam. By using the microwave, you don’t dilute the flavor of the beets with water and the color remains extra deep and vibrant. I’ve tried it both ways and the microwave is by far more better. Yes, I said, ” . . . more better . . . ” It’s just me.
Leave beets on the counter to cool long enough that you can hold them. Coat your hands with canola oil. This will keep your hands protected from staining much. Take a paper towel and place a beet in the towel and rub the skin off. Really. This works great. Do this for all of them.
Cut into equal slices or wedges – whichever you prefer.
In a large saucepan or medium stock pot combine vinegar, sugar, salt, 1 cup water and spices. Tie your spices up in a cheese cloth bag so you can easily remove them later. Bring to a boil; add beets and onions; simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag now.
Ladle beets and onions into 4 hot pint jars, cover with juice, filling to within 1/4″ of jar top. Wipe jar rim; adjust lids. Don’t put a Mountain Man twist on the lids. Just enough to feel the resistance. Not enough to strip the threads on the lid . . . honey.
Process in a boiling water bath 30 minutes. Start to count processing time when water in canner returns to boiling. Remove jars and complete seals unless closures are self-sealing type (which most all of them are these days). Makes 4 pints.
Oh, and here was the guest we had for lunch.
You can purchase high-resolution photos of this recipe picture and others here. They make great kitchen decor and gifts. Also, the notecards are great for sharing recipes! More added every week.