Monday, July 9, 2012

Pickled Beets

What a beautiful sight! 26-1/2 pints...make that 26 pints (not mentioning names, but someone in my house ate the 1/2 jar before the end of the day and it wasn't me) of pickled beets lined up in the storage closet. Now this may not excite you, but me, Andy and Momma LOVE them! The last time my Daddy was in-between confinement at M.D. Anderson in Houston, the boys and I drove down and fixed him oven-barbecued chicken legs, pickled beets and corn on the cob. In his opinion, it was one excellent meal! With the amount of chemo and treatment he received, his taste buds were in a sad state, so he enjoyed the spicy sauce and bite from the vinegar. 

We love to eat salads and a couple of pickled beets add a nice zing to any vegetable combination you throw together. Blair thinks they're a little too earthy tasting for her. That's ok. More for me and Pops!! 
The beets didn't fare so well in our garden this year, so we went to the farmers market on the town square and bought some. We ended up with two baskets weighing 9 pounds each. For this quantity of beets, I had to mix up the syrup recipe below times four to can 26-1/2 pint jars. This is the best recipe I have ever used.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you have several pairs of gloves to work with. If you don't, your hands will bear the tell-tale sign when you start peeling the skins!

Wash your beets to remove all the dirt. Cut the tops and bottoms off.

In a large pot, cover beets with water and cook until they are tender. The skins will start to easily peel when they are ready. (Notice how pink the water is already turning from the raw beets.)

Once they are cooked, cover them in cold water to stop the cooking and make it easier for you to handle.

Put on your gloves! The skins can be removed with your hands if they're properly cooked.

Cut the peeled beets into small chunks and set aside in a large bowl.

In a large pot make the syrup.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 thin slice of lemon
Add beets to syrup. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lemon slice from pot.

Using a wide mouth funnel, spoon beets into jar. Be sure to leave plenty of head space. 

Top beets with syrup. Do no over fill! We usually stop at the bottom of the funnel in the jar.

Wipe top of jar with a clean wet cloth. Cover with lid and lightly hand-tighten ring. Place jars in a removable rack and place into canning pot. Make sure all jars are covered with water. Give them a 15 minute hot bath in boiling water. 

I like to put a thick doubled towel on the counter to absorb water. Carefully remove hot jars with canning tongs to counter to cool. You should immediately start to hear the "ping" of a sealed jar.  If any do not seal after cooling, put them into the refrigerator to use quickly. 

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