After a many year hiatus as beet growers, we began again and have been blessed with a nice little crop from our small garden. I love beets. After harvesting about 2/3 of our little crop, I pickled them. I really love pickled beets. Through all four of my pregnancies, and still today, one of my favorite things is cottage cheese topped with pickled beets, coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Ironically, or not, I have brought into the world four pickled beet lovers. Max has suggested that we make our own cottage cheese and turn this into a full blown food project. Hmmmmm.......
I have a very distinct memory of scrubbing beets on my grandma's stoop one summer day. I bet they were destined to be pickled. Grandma was fond of pickles, too. She, and in turn my mother, made pickled eggs about Easter time. I can still see them floating in the big, bright yellow tupperware bowl. I've already promised to make them for the kids with our pickling liquid. It's been ages since I've made them. This time I know I'll have a lot of help eating them all.
I think the best part of beet prep is peeling them. I love how the skins just slip right off. The color is good, too. I never mind finishing the job with magenta tipped fingers. It makes me feel like I've really accomplished something.
A cheesecloth bag filled with aromatics goes into the pot to flavor the brine. The recipe I decided to try is from The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich. It calls for apple cider vinegar as opposed to the more harsh white vinegar and brown sugar for extra flavor.
As is typical of canning projects today, many hours of work and 3 pint jars was all I have to show. I like how tender the tiny beets are so I forgo quantity for quality. Regardless of our net product, they are our beets. From sowing the seeds, to harvesting, scrubbing and cooking it's all us. Worth every minute of time spent.
I know as I write this that when the kids remember there are 3 little pint jars of beets hidden away, they'll want to devour them immediately. I like to hoard these special jars to surprise my sweeties. Maybe on a chilly fall day that seems to be too quickly approaching....
2 years ago