Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Just beet it....beet one wants to be...Pickled Red Beets

Oh Michael.  My Aunt had your poster hanging up in her bedroom in the 80's alongside Tom Selleck in his itty bitty khaki shorts.  I still have a thing for mustachioed men in short shorts and love it when The Mister indulges my mustache whims.  He flat out refuses to indulge my short shorts whim.  Whatever.  He claims that red-heads should NEVER have mustaches (but every once in a while I get a mustache out of him).  This stems from a childhood with a red-headed father who wore a mustache.  I will never confess to him that this may, in fact be sage wisdom.  I still like it.  I also like...beets!

Beets are a misunderstood root vegetable.  I think they get a bad rap from being cooked incorrectly.  Roasted they are divine.  They are sweet and pair so nicely in savory dishes.  As a child, beets were always pickled and canned.  So when the time came to harvest my own beet crop, I knew exactly what I was going to do....make my children recreate a page from my own childhood.  Scrubbing beets.

Here's what you do.  Put on your dumpiest clothes.  Beets juice will stain the heck out of anything.  Clothes, hands, counter tops, so be prepared.  Get a scrub brush, a clean bowl and head outside with your kids.  Turn on the hose and ask them to scrub the dickins out of each and every beet.  You want all the dirt off and the beets to gleam bright purplish red.   If you have a dog...they will probably try and steal your beets.  Wild beast.
At first, your kids will think this is lots of fun.  Until they realize that Mom is actually having them do work.  Then be ready for the whining and complaining.  Don't give in.  Make them scrub those beets.  You had to scrub bushels of them...for goodness sake, I think they only have 25, max!  Weak.

While kids are cheerfully scrubbing beets, get your work station set up in the kitchen.  Pot for boiling the beets.  Canning pot and tea kettle ready with hot water to replenish canning pot's water level.

Take the scrubbed beets...and give them a good once over.  I'm guessing your kids do a questionable job, as my kids did.  They're learning.  They'll do better next year.  Chop off the tops and the tails.  Plunge them into boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes until they're slightly more tender and peel them.  You can actually keep the skin on, but my Mom didn't, so I don't.  Chop them accordingly, if they're very petite...whole.  Halved. don't want huge chunks of beet, you want them to be nicely bite sized.

While all the above is happening, heat your pickling fluid up to simmer and get the sugar dissolving.  Follow your recipe.  Or be like me and use half my Grandmother's recipe and half the Ball Blue Book's recipe.  And then be nervous you're going to give your family botulism and store the three jars you get in the fridge.

This is my fancy new canning pot.  Loving it.  It's extra huge and has a fancy lid that tells you when you are able to start timing.  I live at 6000 feet above sea level, so at different altitudes, you have to adjust your canning time accordingly.  Fancy.  I just said fancy a lot...fancy, is in fact one of my favorite words.

Voila!  Final product and so, so pretty.  I have eaten 2 out of my three jars so far.  A...because they are taking up valuable space in my fridge, but B...they are so good.  Unless you ask my children and they are foul.  They are quite sour because I used a larger vinegar to sugar ratio.  I suppose if I used more sugar they'd like them more.  But, my Mom's beets were sour, so I like mine to be a bit sour.  If you're putting them on tossed salads, they really cut through creamy dressings...and I love it.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Oh very nice beets, I like mine to be a little sweeter, but then I have a sweet tooth. I love that the kids thought it was fun...until they realized it was work LOL Enjoy the rest of your summer produce

    1. Thanks so much for linking up your beets, I still love the idea of getting the kids to do the work hehehe

  2. Heather, that was one fun post to read! I think it's cute that you do things because that's the way your mom did them! I especially love that you took some pleasure in making your kids scrub beets because you had to! I love that last pretty, looks like rubies in a jar!

  3. Okay, you are too funny! This sounds like an awful lot of work. I think I'm the one who will be whining because my kids are grown and gone and can't help.

    Wait. You aren't suggesting I have MORE kids, are you? Because that's a deal-breaker.

    But at least Michael will be moon-walking through my head all day. :)


  4. What a fun post! Your beets turned out beautifully....must be the amazing help! :D

  5. I love the canning pot. Didn't know those existed...that tells you that I don't can (yet). Maybe the children will eat those one day

  6. Mustaches and beets...I hope the two never meet. I would not like to find a stray mustache hair in my beets :). What beautiful pictures and a lovely tribute to beets. I've never indulged but now I feel compelled.

  7. Yum - I love pickled beetroot - its the only way I'll eat it mmmm yummy

  8. My grandma made us snap peas when I was a kid. It was fun for about 10 minutes. ;)

    Your kids are making memories and they don't even know it. :)

  9. Hi Heather,
    I think I may have commented on an earlier beet post how much I LOVE beets. Pickled is number one and roasted is number two. We need a beet song, don't we? Like the pie song (me,oh my, I love pie) but for beets.
    Let's see...beets/petes...beets/meats...beets/feets...okay, I can't do it.

    PS- redheads can definitely wear mustaches:) Di

  10. The beets are beautiful. I see them at my farmer's market and want to buy them, but have no idea what to do with them. This will help. Thanks for the honest warning about what a mess it is. My Dad was a redhead with a mustache. He has turned to grey now. It always looked good on least that is what my Mom thinks. LOL!


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