Friday, May 25, 2012

Pickled Beets

We've had a variety of things going on here at Peace of Earth~ gardening, raising cornish cross meat chickens, and pulling together a home school curriculum for Eli, who will be 4 at the end of August!

In the garden, we have peas and beans coming up. The Brussel Sprouts are looking great, as are the Eggplants. I don't think we've every had eggplant plants look so good! We also have the herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squashes all planted and hoping for some more kale, lettuce and spinach. For some reason, we haven't had much luck with the greens so far this year.

Last night, I pickled 4 pints of beets. Well, really, 3.5. I was hoping for more but at least I had 3- one for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas and one for Easter- and then the half is in the fridge right now. I will do a fall crop and fingers crossed, will have more.

As I was working on the beets last night, I was thinking about my grandmother (who has passed). I also thought about my dad (who passed away this last fall). I learned how to can beets from my dad, who learned from his mother. I could feel both of them with me as I peeled the beets. In case you don't know, canning beets is a lot of work! I now realize just how much love went into each jar from year's past. A dinner at my grandmother's always included a jar of canned/pickled beets.

Here is the recipe passed down to me:

Pick beets- cut tops off, but leave the root (this is very important, according to my dad)
Rinse- I got most of the dirt off, but they will be cooked and peeled, so don't worry about getting them perfectly clean.
Cook- boil like potatoes. They are done when you can put a fork into them, tender, like you would for potatoes.
Rinse- I pour mine into a large colander in the sink and run cold water over them. They are still warm when I peel them.
Peel- The peeling comes right off- I also cut the tops and bottoms.
Fill jars- I do mine in pint jars

At this point, if you're going to follow the directions for canning in the Ball Blue Book and use the hot water method, get your water started, then prepare the following mixture for canning.

Heat together and boil for 10 min. the following:
For 4 pints

2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1t. whole cloves
1t whole allspice
1T Cinnamon

Pour over beets, place lids/rings on jars and then continue with canning directions from your Ball Blue Book. They do have directions for pickled beets, which I did. *Bring water to a simmer, place jars in, bring to a rolling boil and maintain for 30 min. Turn off, let jars cool down in pot (I left mine in for a couple of hours), then place on towels on the counter and cover with a towel. Check for seal within 24 hours. *PLEASE read the directions from the Ball Blue Book!! This is just a brief summary so you know what you're getting yourself into!

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