You might think from the number of posts I’ve written about beets that I must have planted rows and rows of them, but in truth I only planted about five feet! And yet I’m still eating them…for lunch every other day…
The problem of excess beet greens does seem to have been solved, however. The deer finally discovered how delicious they are. So they’ve been munching on the tops, and I’ve been taking the roots. And I’m more than happy to divvy up the eating chores this way, because now I don’t have to guiltily throw perfectly good greens on the compost pile.
I’ve also discovered a great way to use all the beet roots that I’m not going to be able to consume in the next couple of weeks: pickling! I combined recipes from The Best of Amish Cooking and Farm Journal’s Freezing & Canning Cookbook to create the recipe below. Unfortunately, the beets filled all my pint jars with none left over for tasting. So I can’t tell you yet how I like them. Though I tasted the pickling syrup, and I can’t see how they could possibly be bad after marinating in this stuff… Still, I’m waiting until I run out of fresh beets to open the first jar. But in case you meanwhile find yourself with an excess of beets and a dearth of ideas, here’s the recipe!
Makes 3 pints.
Just so you know, these are not full canning instructions. If you’ve never canned before, find a separate canning guide to tell you how to sterilize your equipment and make sure everything you can is safe to eat afterward! Or, don’t worry about preserving these. Just put them in the fridge and eat them within the next couple of weeks!
Boil about 2-1/4 lbs. of beet roots until you can easily stick a fork into the center of the largest one. Save 1 C. of the boiling liquid for the pickling syrup. Cut the beets into chunks about 3/8″ wide.
In a saucepan, combine the reserved boiling liquid (or 1 C. water) with 2 C. cider vinegar (5% acid strength), 1-1/4 C. sugar, 2 T. salt, 6 cloves, and 1 stick of cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Remove spices.
Ladle beets into 3 pint jars. Cover with the pickling syrup, leaving 1/4 to 1/2″ headroom.
Process 30 minutes in a boiling water bath.