Here’s the first of a few canning entries. I pushed the energy boundaries way too far by tackling this job yesterday, but it’s done and I’m glad. I had a bumper crop of beets, so the pulling, trimming, and scrubbing process was a bigger job than usual this time around. A truly sensible person would do that part one day, then the actual cooking and pickling the next, but I’m a stickler for quality and insist on garden to jar in the shortest amount of time possible. Feel free to judge, I deserve it. There are some cold nights in the not too distant forecast, though, so there really was a valid reason for pushing the point yesterday. Really!
I was going to go into a bit more detail about canning processes and such, but there are so many resources on the internet that I don’t need to add my two cents. Like most things, you learn by doing, so find yourself a good tutorial, invest in the basic equipment, and off you go. Contrary to what you’ll be told by lots of cooks who are looking to impress, canning is not difficult. Time consuming and labour intensive, yes, but if you can cook a meal, you can make pickles, jams, relishes, etc. Just follow the instructions carefully the first time or two, and then you’ll be off and running, promise! Besides the fact that homemade tastes a billion times better than bought, there’s an incredible feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing that you made this stuff yourself. So many of the tasks done at home have little in the way of lasting gratification, but this one most definitely does!
Sweet Pickled Beets
2 lbs. (900 g) fresh beets
water, to cover
11/2 cups (375 ml) white vinegar
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
2 cups (500 ml) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. (2ml) table salt
1 tbsp. (15 ml) mixed pickling spice, tied in double layer of cheesecloth
Cook beets in first amount of water until tender. Cool until they can be handled. Peel and cut up. Pack into hot sterilized pint jars to within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of top.
Brine: Bring vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium heat in saucepan. Remove from heat.
Swish pickling spice bag around in brine for 30 seconds (I do it for a full minute as I love a more intense spice flavour in this recipe). Remove spice bag. Pour brine over beets to fill jar to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top. Place sterilized metal lids on jars and screw metal bands on securely. Process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. Serve chilled. Makes 2 pints.
Recipe source: Company’s Coming: Preserves, by Jean Paré
Thanks to Alex for the photos. 🙂