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.


Leah J. Utas said...

Oh, damn I want your beet pickles. Now.

JavaChick said...

My method is to ask my Mom for pickled beets. Perfect results every time. ;)

Virginia Lee said...

Girl, you need some garlic in those dill pickles.

*runs away*

messymimi said...

If i could, i would love to come get lessons!

Sagan said...

Can't wait to try this! Getting so many beets in our CSA and Mr Science LOVES beets. Trying to find some good recipes for preserving all of our CSA items so this will be perfect.

the Bag Lady said...

Leah - be careful what you wish for!

JavaChick - I wonder if your method would work for me.... asking your mom, I mean!

Virginia Lee - I always put garlic in my dills!!! Yum!

Messymimi - I would love to give you lessons! Any time!

Sagan - this is a really good recipe for pickled beets! They are really tasty. Good luck. (And if you need more recipes for things, let me know!)

solarity said...

[lightbulb moment] A magnet on a wand! I've always used tongs, but it sure is awkward.

Of course, disliking beets and being allergic to vinegar means Leah can have my share. Just being in the room with boiling vinegar gives me a days' worth of headache. (Discovered this when my mother, who with all her food allergies was NOT allergic to vinegar, started making her own catsup.) (She was also the only one in my family who liked beets.)

Mary Anne in Kentucky

the Bag Lady said...

Mary Anne - the magnet on a wand is, without a doubt, the best invention!! I used to use tongs, too, but what a pain!
Sorry to hear you're allergic to vinegar - that cuts out a huge number of dishes and pickles!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I wish I knew about the magnet on a wand back when I canned things! (Never beets... I am "allergic" to beets... they give me nausea)

I might have to be done reading blogs for the night... I read "rough guide" as "quick ride"...
Tired eyes!

Hilary said...

Yum.. I think I'll try some canning next year. That would be a first. Any suggestions for a newbie?

the Bag Lady said...

Karen - beet allergy? That sucks!!

Hilary - Why wait for next year? Get thee to a farmer's market and pick up some fresh carrots or green beans and dill, then make dill pickles. You won't regret it - I'll walk you through the process. Oh, you'll have to buy a few things to get started.... like jars and lids and a canner (because they don't recommend you put up anything without processing it) but once the initial purchases are made, you can re-use everything except the lids. And it's FUN!!

Hilary said...

Sure thing, Baggie. I'll fit it in between painting, laying flooring, packing, putting the house up for sale, moving, setting up utilities, renovations, unpacking and general chaos. ;)

the Bag Lady said...

With one arm tied behind your back!