Glorious Beets

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Yesterday I decided it was finally time to harvest the beets. They’ve been pushing their way out of the ground for a couple of weeks now, so we’ve been piling more dirt on them to keep them growing for longer.

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I’ll have to say, I reluctantly planted them to see how they might grow. They were free seeds included in our order, so we had nothing to lose. I’m certainly glad we did plant them. They were extremely easy to grow, needed no attention and gave us crop of healthy vegetables within a few months. When you compare them to broccoli (which take 90% of our work) beets become a no brainer to plant.

The greatest challenge came when we needed to decide how we were going to eat them. In Australia beetroot comes in cans and is added to salads and burgers. These roots I pulled out of the ground looked nothing like what I had become accustomed to. After trawling the internet I discovered that beets are delicious roasted, but in the end I decided to pickle them so they resemble something like food from home.

Beets Beets boiled and cut

Steps for Pickling Beets

  • Cleaning Beets. After pulling them from the ground, I gave them a good scrubbing in the sink to remove the dirt.
  • Boiling Beets. I cut them into roughly quarters, placed them in a large pot, covered with water and boiled them for 20 minutes (just like potatoes). Once cooked I removed them from the heat, saved 1 cup of beet water and then drained them and run them under cool water.
  • Skinning and Cutting the Beets. The beet skins came off easily when pressure was applied with the thumb and with the skin rubbed back and forth. I removed the stem and root ends, and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  • Making the Beet Brine. I combined 2 1/2 cups of white vinegar, 1 cup of beet water, 1 cup of granulated (white) sugar, and some spices (I used mustard powder and cinnamon). I brought the mixture to a boil and let it boil gently for 15 minutes.
  • Cooking and Jarring the Beets. Once the brine was infused with the spices, I added the beets to the pot and returned it to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, I packed a couple of jars with cooked and peeled beets, and then added the pickling juice to the jars, leaving a 1/4 inch head space. The jars are then supposed to be processed for 30 minutes in a boiling water canner. I don’t yet have a canner so I just placed the jars in hot water for about 10 minutes. It probably not safe to keep these jars for too long, so I expect we’ll eat these beets in the next few weeks.

The resulting jars of pickled beets are a really beautiful colour. I hope they taste as good as they look.

pickled beets

After spending an hour canning the beets, I decided to use the beet greens (leaves) for dinner. I hate to see any part of the vegetable I grew go to waste! Here’s the recipe I used. Beet Greens and Feta Pasta It was delicious. I just added a little fried bacon and some pine nuts on a whim.

Beet greens taste just like spinach so we could use them in all types of recipes. I’ll definitely be planting beets in my fall garden.

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