Search This Blog for Recipes. Just type in key words or recipe name.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Maggie's Newfoundland Pickled Beets




Pickles are a favourite Newfoundland condiment and Pickled Beets rank right up there in the top ten percent.  I suppose just about every kitchen cupboard or refrigerator shelf has a jar or two sitting there waiting to be eaten with a cooked dinner or made into a Beet Salad.  And if they aren't in the cupboard they're on the grocery list.  (I know, I know, not all Newfoundlanders eat pickled beets, but most do!)

Pickled Beets are on the lower right side of the plate.  This boy likes his dinner.
This time of the year, as fresh beets come on the market, I have a hunt through my pantry shelves to see how many bottles of beets I have left from last year.  I like to make my own pickled beets as do many home cooks throughout the province. They taste so much better than the bottled beets on the grocery store shelves and I can add a few optional ingredients for variety.  It is a somewhat time consuming process and a messy one, too, but it is so worth it to have home bottled pickled beets on the pantry shelf ready to make any dinner a special occasion.  Nothing says "I love you" like homemade.  

If you can get good fresh bunches of beets with the tops intact, get those and cook the beet greens for a meal.  I bought a 10 pound bag with the tops removed so I wasn't able to have a good feed of beet greens.  Ten pounds of beets should yield ten 500 ml (pint) jars of pickled beets.  I made nine jars because I cooked some of the beets and we ate them fresh with a little butter. 

The recipe I use is Maggie's Pickled Beets.  Maggie is a wonderful cook and made her own pickled beets for years.  When I was looking for a good recipe, I knew who to ask and I wasn't disappointed.  Even though they are called "plain" these are some of the tastiest beets you will eat.  They are just sweet and sour enough with a hint of spice.  Maggie also had a "spiced" version which I reserve for special meals like Christmas or birthdays.  I make most of the beets plain and a few bottles of the spiced ones.  I also put a few slices of onion in the spiced beets.  

The recipe (either plain or spiced) makes enough to fill about 7 bottles of beet so if you are doing up ten pounds of beets, make the pickling liquid one and a half times. 

You will need canning jars, lids and rings to preserve the beets in a boiling water bath.  If you don't have a canner with a bottle rack, a large covered pot, deep enough to hold the bottles will do.  You will need to place a trivet or something in the bottom to hold the jars off the bottom of the pot while everything is boiling.   Pickled Beets preserved in this method should last 1 year (if not longer) on the shelf. 


Maggie’s Pickled Beets 

7 pounds fresh beets, tops removed

Plain                   
3 cups vinegar           
2 cups water               
2 cups sugar               
1 teaspoon salt           
½ teaspoon allspice

Sliced onions, optional

OR

Spiced
3 cups vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups sugar               
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon allspice
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoons cloves

Sliced onions, optional. 

Prepare the jars:  Wash 7- 500 ml (pint) jars in hot soapy water.  Rinse and place in a large pot with a trivet on the bottom.  Cover with water and gently boil jars for 10 minutes.  Leave in hot water until ready to use.

Prepare Lids:  Place 7 snap lids in a small pot and cover with water.  Bring to a simmer but do not boil.  Leave in hot water until ready to use.


Prepare Pickling Liquid:  In a medium pot combine the water, vinegar,  sugar, salt and spice(s).  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and keep hot until ready to use.  Use while hot to cover beets in  jars.


Prepare Beets: Cut beet tops off, if they have any.  Do not peel the beets. Wash beets to remove any loose dirt and place in a large pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until tender about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
When cooked, let cool for a few minutes and then cut off the top and bottom of each beet and then slip off the peels.  A pair of latex or plastic gloves will keep your hand and nails from staining.  Cut each beet in cubes or slices.  While warm, place prepared beets in sterilized bottles.


Process Beets: Completely cover the beets with the hot pickling liquid to within half an inch from the top. Remove any air bubbles with a plastic knife.  Run the knife down the side of the jars to dislodge any air bubbles. Wipe each jar rim to remove any dripped juice or bits of beet. Centre hot snap lids on clean jar rim. Screw band down until fingertip tight. Place filled and covered jars in rack in canner.  Lower rack into hot water.  Cover jars with at least 1-inch of hot water.  Cover canner and bring water to a gentle boil.  Process (boil) jars for 30 minutes.

When finished processing, let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes then remove from hot water and let rest on cloth covered surface.  As the jars cool you will hear a little "ping" sound as the lids are sucked downward.  This means your lids have sealed.  Leave jars, undisturbed for 24 hours.  When ready to store, wipe jars with a wet cloth to remove any sticky residue.  You may remove the screw band but do not tighten them as that may unseal the lids.  Store in a cool dark place such as a pantry or cupboard shelf. 

WarningIf  a lid does not seal on a jar after processing, refrigerate that jar and use as you would an opened bottle of beets.  Do not place unsealed jars on a cupboard shelf.   

Makes 7- 500ml (pint) bottles of beets.

Because this is such a lengthy recipe I've gone through the instructions again, with the pictures, in the same detail as above. 

Prepare the jars:  Wash 7- 500 ml (pint) jars in hot soapy water.  Rinse and place in a large pot with a trivet on the bottom.  Cover with water and gently boil jars for 10 minutes.  Leave in hot water until ready to use.
 
Prepare Lids:  Place 7 snap lids in a small pot and cover with water.  Bring to a simmer but do not boil.  Leave in hot water until ready to use.

Prepare Pickling Liquid:  In a medium pot combine the water, vinegar,  sugar, salt and spice(s).  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and keep hot until ready to use.  Use while hot to cover beets in  jars.
 
Prepare Beets: Cut beet tops off, if they have any.  Do not peel the beets. Wash beets to remove any loose dirt and place in a large pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until tender about 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
 
When cooked, let cool for a few minutes and then cut off the top and bottom of each beet and then slip off the peels.  A pair of latex or plastic gloves will keep your hand and nails from staining.  Cut each beet in cubes or slices.  While warm, place prepared beets in sterilized bottles.

When I make the Spiced Beets I usually put in a few slices of onion in the bottle before filling with the pickling liquid.


Completely cover the beets with the hot pickling liquid to within half an inch from the top.  Remove any air bubbles with a plastic knife.  Run the knife down the side of the jars to dislodge any air bubbles. Wipe each jar rim to remove any dripped juice or bits of beet. Centre hot snap lids on clean jar rim. Screw band down until fingertip tight. Place filled and covered jars in rack in canner.  Lower rack into hot water.  Cover jars with at least 1-inch of hot water.  Cover canner and bring water to a gentle boil.  Process beets for 30 minutes.


When finished processing, let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes then remove from hot water and let rest on cloth covered surface.  As the jars cool you will hear a little "ping" sound as the lids are sucked downward.  This means your lids have sealed.  Leave jars, undisturbed for 24 hours.  When ready to store, wipe jars with a wet cloth to remove any sticky residue.  You may remove the screw band but do not tighten the  as that may unseal the lids.  Store in a cool dark place such as a pantry or cupboard shelf. 

This is one of the bottles of Spiced Beets with Onion.  I left the small beets whole.  They should make a tasty condiment come Christmas.


 
Label and date the beets before storing.

Place your jewel-like beets in a pretty serving dish.


Ready for the dinner table.

No comments:

Post a Comment