Monday, September 1, 2008

Now, the Tips and Tricks of the Pickled Beets

Ok here are the pictures and the tips and tricks to pickling the beets.

I followed the recipe except I used 15 lbs of beets (considerably more than 24 beets total) and I just took the amounts of the ingredients and proportioned them with the guideline of the recipe in mind. So I used total of 10 cups of vinegar (5 pints); 5 cups cooking liquid; 20 Tbsp salt; 6 1/4 cups sugar; and then used probably the equivalent of 3 bags of spices rather than one. That is how I modified the recipe to accommodate my beets, since I was canning more than the recipe called for.

Start with the beets, wash them and cut them down to 1 inch of stem and leave the roots (alot of liquid leaks out the roots when you cut them off that it could discolor your beets lighter than they usually would be, they should be a deep reddish purple in the jar)

Photobucket (in this picture, this is only about half of the beets I used total; about 7 1/2 pounds)

Then you want to boil them for about 25 minutes; it helps to tenderize the beets. Then put them right to cold water after boiling, and the skins slip off (much better than paring them and alot easier on your hands). Do not dump out the cooking liquid, save it because it will be used to make the pickling brine later after you cook and skin the beets.

Photobucket (here the beets are getting cooked before skins come off)

Next you have to slice them after getting the skins off, they are very tender now and will slice easily. Here is the picture of the sliced beets. (again this is only about 5 lbs of sliced beets; I filled this baking dish 3 times with sliced beets)


Here I did something different in the next step; my beets were still hot after slicing them that I did NOT put them in the brine before putting them in the hot jars; I just do not have the room or the extra large pan to do this (since I have a tiny kitchen, I have to make do with what I have to work with) If the beets are hot and your jars are hot, you actually do not have to put them simmering in the brine first before packing (if they get cold then you do have to simmer them in the brine, because with beets, they ALWAYS have to be hot going into the jars)


Finally, after the jars are filled just process them in the boiling water canner for 30 minutes for pints or quarts. I let my beets sit for 7 days before they are opened and eaten so that they have more of the flavor of the brine into the beets, they may not taste as pickled if they are opened right away. I find that with the 7 day waiting period, it makes them more flavorful since they have time to soak up the flavors while in the jar. But notice in this picture of a jar, how red they are... that is from not cutting off the stems until you are actually slicing the beets to get ready for packing. Alot of color can leak out of the roots while initially boiling them at first and could lose alot of nutrients as the liquid leaks out. Some liquid will leak out of them, but alot of it can be avoided by not cutting off the roots until just before slicing.


Now that you have the general idea, go out and get some beets (they are usually available well into September in most climates since they are cool temperature vegetables) and have fun pickling them!! I know I had a good time this year!


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