A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

All kinds of Beets!

If you haven't tried golden or white beets before, you're missing the best of the beet family.  I was never overly fond of beets until I tried the golden and white varieties.  The golden are sweeter than the reds and the white are sweeter than the golden variety.  The white's are like candy! 
For cooking: Cut the tops down to 2", boil or steam them until tender (easily pierced with a fork)--20-40 min.  Rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.  Slip the skins off and slice.  Reheat again if necessary with a pat of butter, S&P to taste and whoo-boy.... 
This is one veggie I like to pressure can as they don't get too soft or mushy.

As for the red beets, I save those for pickling and making a family-favorite dish--pickled beet, pea and onion salad.  I use the following pickled beet recipe as the one in the canning books add in spices which doesn't work for this recipe.  This one has the right mix of vinegar/water/sugar too.
Pickled Beets
To prepare the beets:  Wash beets and cut the tops down to 2".  Put in pot of water to cover and boil until tender (easily pierced with a fork)--20-40 min. Rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.  Slip skins off and dice into  1/4"-1/2" squares (in between is perfect) or 1/4"-1/2" square julienne strips.  I use the french-fry cutter on my mandolin (food slicer).  Makes quick work!
Prepare the pickling liquid: 
For 3 pounds of beets-
2 cups vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
--Boil vinegar, water and sugar over med-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Assembly:  Ladle beets into hot jars to within generous 1/2" of top.  Add pickling liquid to within 1/2".  Remove air bubbles by slipping table knife around inside edges of jar.  Add more liquid if necessary.  Place lids and screw bands on and place in canner of hot water with enough water to cover 2".  Bring to boil and boil 30 min.  Remove from canner, cool and store.  Store for at least one month to be sure beets are pickled.
Note to myself:  I used 18 med-size beets and needed 6 cups vinegar, 3 cups water, 3 cups sugar and got 7 pints of pickled beets--perfect!

Pickled Beet, Pea and Onion Salad
1 quart jar pickled beets
1 TB sugar (if using store-bought beets--other than as canned above)
1 cup frozen peas (do not thaw)
3-4 TB diced onion
1 tsp. dill weed
1/2 cup prepared salad dressing (I like Miracle Whip)
Mix all together and chill until peas are thawed.  Chilling improves flavor.
Grandma's Beet Salad recipe was a must at all family get-togethers.
Many who claim they don't like beets have enjoyed this pretty salad. 

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