Monday, June 8, 2009

Pickled Beets

I have a new obsession and I am completely powerless to it. Canning is the name of the game. Holy Hannah I am in love with the whole process! I have been terrified of canning for years but I decided I had to get over it. My Husband's Ome was a canning queen up until a couple of years ago when she decided it was time to hang up her tongs. While my Husband has been enjoying homemade pickled beets, carrots, sauerkraut and the best pickles ever, for his whole life, I have only been able to relish in the beauty of Ome's canning for the length of our courtship but I am hooked. Given that Ome has thrown in the towel, I figured it was time for me to get some courage and give it a go.

I suppose my fear of canning stemmed from the horror stories I've read about botulism. You know, I try to stay away from that kind of thing, but I've come to the conclusion that, much like many things, hype and paranoia tend to get in the way. Don't get me wrong, you have to be careful with canning but the stigma around how difficult it is, is far too dramatic. Since acquiring my canning equipment, I've canned pretty much every day. I've canned beets, carrots, pearl onions, rhubarb jam and rhubarb chutney (wow), all of which I'll post the recipes here shortly. Prepare yourselves for a canning onslaught folks! I know it's early, but I look forward to a winter food supply of countless canned goods.

Click on this link for a great, straight forward resource for all things canning related.

Pickled Beets Recipe from my Royal Canadian Legion Ladies' Auxiliary Cook Book and Ome approved:
about 30 small beets
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 small cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Scrub beets clean. Boil beets until fork tender. Once tender, drain the beets and allow them to cool. Slice beets into 1" cubes. Make the pickling syrup by combining the water, vinegar, sugar and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the beets to the syrup, bring to a boil again, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pack the beets snugly in hot sterilized jars. Pour the syrup over the beets in the jars, leaving a 1/2" headspace. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and allow to cool completely on a rack, this will probably take overnight.

Yields about 6 pints

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