Thursday, August 02, 2007

Beets

The weather has been terribly hot and miserable this last few days. So much so that we had to get outside at 7am to try to beat the heat. It was already hot but at least it was cooler than the predicted high of 35ºC. That's 95ºF for those still on the imperial system. With the humidity they are expecting temperatures to feel like 45ºC (113ºF) before noon today. That is unreal in this part of the world.

Back to 7am this morning. We had to thin the beets and carrots today. They've really put on a growth spurt over the last few weeks and the roots were starting to touch each other in the ground. We pulled about half of the beets and ended up with 10-15lbs of beets after they were washed and their leaves removed. We were able to save a pot full of beet greens for supper today too. We plan to eat a few of the beets for supper as well but the rest will be pickled using my favourite recipe from the "Company's Coming : Preserves" cookbook.

We didn't get many usable carrots but we do have enough for a salad topping or maybe I'll throw them into the pickling solution too. All in all I think we might have gotten a pound of carrots. Only one or two of them were truly ready to be harvested but we had to thin them in hopes of getting a decent sized crop later this fall.

Pickled Beets adapted from Company's Coming:Preserves Cookbook
Wash and sterilize 10 pint jars, or 7 quart jars, lids and rings in boiling water.
10lb Beets Cooked, skinned, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
4.5 cps Cider Vinegar
2 cps Water
3 3/4 cps White Sugar
2 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/4 tsp Mustard Seed
1 1/4 tsp Celery Seed

Combine vinegar, salt, water, and sugar in a large saucepan. Place the mustard and celery seed into a muslin bag and add to the saucepan. Bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove bag before moving to the next step.

Fill jars with sliced beets leaving an inch of space between beets and the rim of the sterilized jar. Carefully pour the hot syrup over the beets covering them completely. Leave 1/2 inch space between the liquid and the jar rim. Wipe the rim with a clean cloth and carefully place a lid and ring onto the jar. Tighten the ring.

Place all the filled jars into a boiler bath canner. Fill the canner with enough liquid to cover the jars by two inches. Place lid on canner and bring to a boil. Boil the filled jars for 30 minutes. Remove the canner from the heat and carefully lift the jars from the water, placing them gently onto a towel covered counter. Let them cool completely.

As the jars cool the canning lids will make a loud POP sound and the lid will appear to bow in toward the contents of the jar. This means the jar is sealed and the contents will now last as long as needed before you eat them. Any jar that does not seal can be left in the refrigerator until they are ready to be eaten.

Let the beets sit in a dark pantry for 3-4 weeks before opening the jar and serving them. They are great served cold as a pickle or hot as a side dish. We like to pour the contents into a saucepan and heat gently. As they heat up add onions and/ or garlic. Serve the beets with a dash of butter or thicken the juice up with arrowroot powder or cornstarch to make deep red sauce to be poured back over the beets.

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