11 August 2008

Just Beet It!

We have been getting bunches of beautiful beets in our CSA box. The first time we tried a recipe that was in our newsletter...I'm too lazy to look up the name, but it was basically hash browns made with beets instead of taters. Yummy, but messy to make and fried, which kind of defeats the whole wholesome veggie thing if you do it every time. The second time we got beets, we also got a cabbage, so I added a couple of shredded beets to a half of the cabbage to make coleslaw (twice). I call my masterpiece "Pink Coleslaw." I thought it was tasty...a bit of earthy beetiness without being overwhelming. The color however was another thing. It made Pepto-Bismal look positively subtle. That didn't bother me either, but by the second batch, I realized I was the only one eating it.

So we needed a new beet strategy. This time I tried Norma's Pickled Beets. Beets, getting ready to roll:

The syrup, put together, but not yet boiled:

How I dealt with the fact that I KNOW I have a tea ball for the pickling spice, but I couldn't put my hands on it to save my life. I boiled everything together first, then put the prepped beets in a larger saucepan and poured the syrup through a strainer over the beets. Then put the strainer with lemons and spices in the pan too to let a little more flavor out.

It wasn't particularly elegant, but it worked! And the finished product:

Yup, just two pints of beets. Neither Kitty Daddy nor I know if we even like pickled beets, so I thought this would be just about right. We used the bunch of beets in this week's CSA box plus a couple of little ones left over from the coleslaw batch and a half a batch of syrup. We'll give these bad boys a couple of weeks to cure and then we'll see.

Oh and the fiber person in me just couldn't bear to see all that lovely colored beet boiling water go to waste, so a small experiment was in order. I snipped a couple of yards of KnitPicks Bare laceweight off the ball, soaked it in vinegar, then put a splosh of vinegar in a little jar, filled it with beet water and plopped in the yarn. It sat in the sun for the rest of the afternoon and I have it back out in the sun this morning. I will report results when I know!

And a postscript for Stephany and anyone else interested in my ratatouille. I followed this recipe, instruction-wise, but played fast and loose with ingredients based on several other recipes. For the layered part, I think I used a monstrous summer squash, a normal sized zucchini, a half of a humongous sweet onion, a green pepper, and a good-sized tomato. It filled a 9x13 Pyrex dish. My biggest complaint was that there was too much summer squash compared to the other ingredients, which was a bit on the bland side. Next time, I would scale back on the monster squash and maybe add some fresh herbs (basil, oregano?) interspersed in the layers.


Namma said...

I love pickled beets, even if they're from a can...so I know I would love your home-canned ones. The only trouble with beets is their intense color...you can end up dyeing everything in close proximity, including your hands! And don't even ask your dad about his experience eating raw beets...

GW makes "Harvard Beets," and I could try and find that recipe for you, if you're interested. If nothing else, it sounds very erudite ;o)

norma said...

I bet you and hubby will LOVE them, and my guess is the yarn will dye brown or gray, rather than that pretty beet pink/red/maroon, whatever you want to call it. It's funny how that works. But I will be very interested to see if I'm wrong. :)

Be sure to report back about whether you like them. They're my favorites! I used to make something interesting with the pickled beets (because they have a sweet-tangy-spicy flavor all their own) -- I used to make what I called "Confetti Potato Salad." I made potato salad and added cooked frozen mixed vegetables, and pickled beets, then the mayo, etc. It was pink and colorful. Everybody always asked for the recipe. I'm not "doing" potatoes anymore because I realized they contributed to my achy joints.

Stephany said...

My mom loves pickled beets so we had them a lot when we were kids. I think we ate the greens, too.

They are good, I'll bet you will like them.

Thanks for the recipe! We will try it for sure.