I made my pickled beets a few weeks ago, but I'm just getting around to writing about it now. Unlike soft fruits and vegetables which have such a short season and therefore have to be canned right away, hardy beets are with us for quite a long time. Beets are still in plentiful supply at my farmers' market and will be for another month or two.
My husband has built a shelf in my kitchen to hold my preserves and I have to admit, it's so gratifying seeing them all lined up there, it's hard to bring myself to open any of the jars. Of course, by late January and mid-February I'll be anxious for the taste of something other than celeriac. In the bleak mid-winter, biting into a piece of toast with your homemade strawberry jam is like having the early summer burst out in your mouth. Biting into a pickled beet gives you an earthy taste that is reminiscent of late summer and fall. So I'm going to hold off and I'll probably open the pears during a snow storm.
If you are pickling for the first time, please refer back to my post on Preserving the Harvest: The Procedure. It's important to follow the correct procedure to produce safe preserves for your family.
10 -15 small beets
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup small whole onions, peeled
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1. In a large pot of water simmer beets for 25 to 40 minutes or until they are tender. Drain, rinse beets and remove skins. If your beets are very large, cut them into halves or quarters.
2. Combine vinegar, sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
3. Meanwhile, remove jars from canner and divide onions and seeds equally among the jars. Add beets.
4. Pour boiling liquid over beets, seal and process for 30 minutes for pint jars and 35 minutes for quart jars.
Yield: Makes 4 pints
From The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.
Difficulty Level: Eas