Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pickly Post

The Bag Lady has a lot of lovely beets in her garden, so will be making beet pickles soon! She thought she would share her recipe, which she got from her mother-in-law many years ago.
At the end of the recipe are some general instructions for using a hot water canner. And a bonus recipe for making dill pickles. Any kind of dill pickles.

Beet Pickles

Wash beets. Trim stems, leaving 2 inches of stalk (this is so the colour doesn't all bleed out). Boil the beets, skins on, for approximately 35 - 45 minutes. Dunk in cold water - the skins should slip right off. Slice or cut the beets into chunks.

In a large stainless steel or enamel pot, combine

2 Cups water
2 Cups vinegar
1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 Tbsp pickling spice (in a cheesecloth bag or a tea ball)

Boil 5 minutes. Add sliced beets. Boil 5 - 10 minutes more.
 Put in jars and seal.

In times past, that would be all you did. Nowadays, it is recommended that you process everything in a water bath.

When the Bag Lady makes pickles or does any type of canning, she uses her canner. She fills it with water and has it boiling on the stove while she makes whatever she is planning to preserve.She puts her jars in it and lets the canner bubble away until she needs the jars. The lids are in a separate little pot in hot but not boiling water. She uses tongs to remove a jar from the canner (pours the water back into the pot), fills the jar, being sure to leave some headspace and using a metal knife or spoon to remove air bubbles, wipes the rim to be sure it is clean. Using a little magnet on a wand, she removes a lid from the hot water, centers it on the jar and screws on the ring. Sets the jar carefully back into the canner, and repeats the steps until all the jars are full. Then she sets the wire rack down into the water, adds the lid and processes the jars for the time recommended.
How long you process the jars depends on the size of your jars and the altitude of the area where you live, but for most recipes, pint jars should be processed approximately 10 - 15 minutes, quarts for 15 - 20. That is a rough guide - you should be able to find more information online for your own area.
When the jars have been processed for the amount of time recommended, carefully remove them from the canner and set them on a towel. Leave them undisturbed for 24 hours. Check that all jars sealed. (you'll probably hear them snapping shortly after they come out of the canner).

Bonus Recipe for Dill Pickles....


Bring to a boil:
 3 Cups water
1 Cup white vinegar
1/4 Cup pickling salt

Thoroughly wash all vegetables that you plan on using, including the dill. This brine works for cucumbers, beans, carrots....
Put a sprig of dill in the bottom of your hot, sterilized jar. You can add onion or garlic, too. Pack in the vegetable of choice, add another sprig of dill, add brine. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch or so of headspace. Seal and process according to the instructions above.
These pickles need to sit for several weeks before they are ready.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mellow Yellow

The Bag Lady and the Rancher took a trip yesterday to attend a birthday party for his sister. She lives about an hour north of the ranch, and the canola is in full bloom 'round these parts right now.

It is difficult to take good pictures from a moving vehicle, but these give an impression of how pretty it was on the drive home with the sun low in the sky. (These were taken around 10 pm)