Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pickled Beets

Remember how I said I liked getting back to the basics of life? Well, for me part of that is being able to provide food and such for my family without having to run to the store every other day. Granted, the closest actual grocery store is about half an hour away so making a trip to town a few times during the week is just not a plausible thing for our family.

Throughout the past few years I have been learning how to and practicing my canning skills. I have done a variety of jams, pickles, tomato products, meat, and pie filling. Yesterday, with the much-appreciated help of little hands, I made 24 pints of pickled beets. That is quite a bit for those who don’t know. It took us 5 hours, but it was fun. I used a recipe from my great grandmother that was passed down to my grandpa and then down to me through a cherished family cookbook. I love the thought of knowing that I am doing and teaching my children the same things my ancestors did. I feel like I can be connected with those loved ones who are angels on the other side in some way.

Though canning is most definitely not a simple process, it is part of my simple lifestyle that I love. If you want to give it a try the recipe is included below. This recipe is probably more special to me because my grandpa grew up on a farm but relocated to Las Vegas. Although he lived in the middle of a city he still held onto his country roots and used this recipe many times to create these sweet pickled beets. Enjoy!

So, I have a great farmer friend who loves pickled beets. A few years ago, he told me that his mom was going to stop canning and thus ending his supply of pickled beets. It just so happened that I was planning on attempting this recipe for my very first time that fall when my beets were done. Ever since then my beet crop has been very small, but I do still try to get him a can or two each year. Well, this year we happened to be out on the farm when he had just picked tons of beets. With my previous offer still out there, I was given a big box and another bag full of beets to can. I still had a bag full of beets in my fridge from my own garden that I was able to add to the mix.

Step 1: Get helping hands! My oldest was such a good helper, and I could not have gotten it done in the 5-hour time span without her help.

 We filled up four pots and still had ½ a box of beets left to wash. I think I need a bigger stove, oh and more pots—ran out of those too. My farmer friend (aka Papa Bruce) said next year he’ll be sure to buy me bigger pots. Thanks for the support Papa Bruce!

 Next came cutting the tops and bottoms off, pealing, and slicing. Yes, that is beet juice all over my counter with another shot of my helper. You’ll see how much fun she had within the next few pictures. She had never tried beets before so she and I ate a couple quite a few of these amazing things. Peeling is quite fun too actually. If they are cooked completely, the skins just slip right off. But it is a messy job…

See, fun stuff, right?

After filling 24 pints worth of jars with beets we added the rest of the ingredients. Then processed them, and this was our end result. That’s a ton of beets! Papa Bruce should be able to make these last a week or two. J

 I’ve been canning for about 4 years and have never had a jar break in the water bath (first picture for those non-canners out there). Imagine my surprise when I lifted the canner lid to find bright red bubbling water with beets floating around. Luckily the break was clean and it was only the bottom that busted without shards of broken glass everywhere. Couldn’t save the beets though. L

Okay, ready to give it a try?

My family recipe for Pickled Beets

3 qts. Beets (enough to fill a three quart pot)
2 c. Vinegar
2 tsp. Salt
1 c. Sugar
2 c. Beet juice
¼ tsp. Mustard seed (in each pint)
2 Cloves (in each pint)

Cut beet tops off, leaving about 1½ inches of the beet top on. Boil the beets about 50 minutes. In a separate pan, place the vinegar, salt, sugar, and beet juice and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil, turn down the heat. In each pint jar place cut, booked beets and the mustard seeds and cloves. Pour the liquid ingredients into each bottle. Place the flat lid for the pint jars in a pan with a little water. Bring to a boil then turn down. Do not let lids boil! Place the lids onto the pint jars and screw on the metal tops (rings). Place pint jars into pan with rack (so the bottles will not touch the bottom of the pan) and boil for 15 minutes. 


No comments:

Post a Comment