Monday, July 23, 2012

Garden Preserves & 100th Post

What better way to celebrate my 100th post on Searching For Simple than with one of Stephen's Grandmother's canning recipes.  It's one of the first ones I tasted, and one that baby Zac was introduced to early in his life (I wish I had photos of his deliciously purple face!).  I put together a step-by-step so that you, too, can enjoy this wonderful dish.

Grandma Tueller's Pickled Beets
24 small beets (or the equivalent)
3 medium onions
2 C white vinegar
1 C water
1.25 C sugar
2 Tbsp salt
6 whole cloves
1 3 inch stick of cinnamon

Cook the beets.  Grandma liked to boil them, I prefer to roast them.  Either way, cook them in their skins.  When done and cool enough to hold, peel the beets with your hands, using a paring knife to cut away difficult spots.  Then slice them.
All roasted & ready to peel.
Peeling.  Yes, my hands are pink now. 

Peeled, ready to slice.

Bring vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices (placed in a spice bag, you don't want these floating out on their own for this recipe) to a boil.  Stir in sliced onions and beets.  Boil for 5 minutes.

Bottle in clean bottles with hot lids.  Put in boiling water bath (or steam canner--NOT a pressure cooker!) for five minutes.*

Let cool and sit for 24 hours to ensure seal.  Then label and put on shelves for future storage. 
Makes 5 pints.
*Current Blue Book of Canning states that it should be processed for 40 minutes.  I think this is a little excessive, as grandma has never poisoned anyone (and we've already cooked the beets twice by now!).  However, to be safe, if you want to go for 15, I don't think it'd hurt anything, and if you really want to go for 40, that's fine.  I don't.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Beet It.

Yesterday found me with a large basket of beets (about a half bushel). My plan is to put together quite a few jars of pickled beets for our cupboards. 

I'm excited to get them, because our beets might not do as well as I hoped.  You see, I have a VERY helpful daughter, who wanted to pick lettuce for our tacos.  I thought I'd been thorough in teaching her which leaves were which, but she arrived to the table with a bowl of beet tops.

Photo from healthytastycheap.
We planted three types of beets in our garden this year: blood red, chioggia and golden.  I love the stripes in the chioggia beets, and overall love the colors of the beets combined.  It's fun to slice them with the children, and have them guess what color the beet will be inside.  They are getting better at noticing that the leaves veins are a give-away.  I'll take more photos of the canning process...and then we get to start waiting for tomatoes!  Unless my beans come in first, then I'll be busy while I wait.