Mr. G says that when he lived in Australia, many times instead of tomato slices on hamburgers, they put a slice of sugar beets. When our beets got big enough to harvest, I cooked a few. He seemed a little disappointed since he remembered them being sweeter than the ones I cooked. I decided to pickle some and one variation of the recipe I found was a sweet pickled beet... after consulting with my dear husband, we chose the sweet variation to pickle our first batch of home grown beets...
Here's what I did...
I cooked the beets, leaving the root end and an inch or two of the tops on to prevent them bleeding out.
Once they had simmered for about 30 minutes, I drained them and rinsed in cool water until I was able to handle them comfortably.
I sliced of the root end and the tops and the peels slid right off.
I had every size beet imaginable... some as large as a tennis ball, down to some no bigger than a large marble... the big ones I sliced in 1/4 inch slices, some I left whole, and some I halved or quartered.
I gathered my ingredients together...
The recipe I used said 7 pounds of beets (I only had a little over 3 pounds, so I halved everything)
7 pounds of beets (about 10 cups)
10 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Allspice (didn't measure the allspice, I just put a few in)
2-1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups sliced onions (optional)
(Like I said before, I halved everything)
For a variation that is not a sweet beet, 3 Tbsp. pickling spice would replace the cloves, cinnamon sticks and allspice... another variation, caraway beets, substitutes 2 Tbsp. caraway seeds and 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns for the pickling spice. And there's always the variation of adding thinly sliced onions to any of the above... I chose to add some onions to mine as well.
I tied my spices into a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag.
In a large stainless steel saucepan, I combined the vinegar, water, sugar, onions, and the spice bag. I brought the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. I reduced the heat and boiled gently for 15 minutes, until the spices infused the liquid.
I added the beets to the saucepan and returned the mixture to a boil.
Using a slotted spoon, I ladled the beets and onions into my hot pint jars, leaving a generous 1/2 inch headspace.
I ladled hot pickling liquid into the jars to cover the beets. I removed any air bubbles by running a butter knife between the inside of the jar and the contents, adding more pickling liquid if necessary.
I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth...
... then put the lids and rings on, tightening the rings to fingertip tightness, and processed in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes... (Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered in water. Bring to a boil and process for 30 minutes)
After processing, I removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter too cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.
(since I only had 3 pounds of beets and halved the recipe, I only got 3 pint jars... the entire recipe as it's written above should make about 6 pints)
|Pretty Pickled Beets!|