The weather turned blustery and drizzly this weekend in Big Stone County–the perfect time for nestling in the house and embarking on long cooking and food preservation projects.
I’d gotten a sheet of directions to the Lismore Colony Garden Center at the Ortonville Farmers Market on Saturday, and on Labor Day decided to make the trip out there to see what they had.
I ended up with a small head of broccoli and almost ten pounds of beets from their walk-in cooler. At forty cents a pound, I had visions of quart jars filled with pickled magenta jewels.
It’s not that I am always looking for a deal–what I’m always looking for is good, fresh food. But I’m not immune to the idea of getting ten pounds of produce to preserve for less than five bucks.
I use the Ball Blue Book recipe except with apple cider vinegar, less sugar (for a double batch I used a little less than 3 cups–one of them brown sugar), and I add cumin seed because I think it complements the earthy flavor of the beets nicely.
I also add a couple of sliced onions–the pink pickled onions are a special treat along with the beets.
And instead of boiling the beets, I roasted them on a foil-covered cookie sheet, so they retained a goodly portion of their nutrients. Then I dunked them in cold water to remove the skins.
The recipe is very easy to make, but the prep is somewhat time-consuming. And there’s the matter of pink hands…
Altogether the close-to-ten pounds of beets made six quarts. With the slow and relaxed pace of the lazy, rainy day, it was almost midnight before they made it out of the canner–all sealed and ready for the winter pantry!