Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pickled Beets

I did not expect to like the pickled beets we made last year as much as I did. But, I liked them enough that one night I found myself standing at the fridge, fork in hand, eating them straight from the jar. So this year, in our way we opted for several more varieties. At the farmers market Lisa found small red beets, larger golden, supposedly chioggia beets, and both small and large white beets.

Note that if you haven't worked with beets before, you will find that these are a good idea:

The golden and white beets were roasted and then pickled following the instructions in Doris and Jilly's pickled-beets-with-fennel. Like all of their recipes, it was a clear winner.

For the red beets, we opted for a variant on a Red Wine pickled beet recipe from Linda Ziedrich's The Joy of Pickling. Rather than use her suggested ginger and cinnamon, we added my beloved nutmeg (CT native that I am) and some star anise. These will sit for a few weeks before I open them, but the brining liquid smelled wonderful.

Pickled Beets with Red Wine
3 lbs beets, trimmed and scrubbed
1/2 piece of nutmeg cut into chunks
1 4-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 small piece of star anise
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 T pickling salt

Roast the beets until tender. Cool and slip off the skins.
Put the rest of the ingredients in a non-reactive pan. If you like, you can put the spices in a spice bag though we opted to just scoop around them when adding liquid to our jars. Bring the contents to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Pack the beets into pint mason jars. We used small beets so left many whole, you may want to half and quarter larger ones.
Ladle the hot syrup over the beets, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal jars and process for 30 minutes.

Now to find a recipe for all of these beet greens!

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