Homegrown, Homemade, Pickled Beets
Fermented and pickled foods are screaming-healthy, crazy-good-for-you foods.
If you have eaten in a trendy restaurant lately you were most likely served something pickled along with your meal. It may have been a pickled cucumber, some pickled cabbage served on a sandwich or even a side of pickled carrot relish.
Pickled & fermented foods are a huge food trend right now, for good reason.
Fermented foods are different from “pickled” foods. They use the natural fermentation process to create the sour, wonderful flavor we all love. They are also filled with probiotics. These probiotics are excellent for your health and your gut. What’s more interesting is that when fermented foods are eaten with a meal they instantly increase the probiotic content of your entire meal.
Fermented foods are wonder-foods. They help digestion, increase probiotics and contribute to overall health.
Pickled foods will not give you the probiotic benefits of fermented foods. Pickled foods get their sour, tangy flavor from vinegar, not a natural process. Because of this, pickled foods are not the same “living food” that fermented foods. are.
AT THE SAME TIME…… if you pickle your goods in raw apple cider vinegar, a case can be made for the health benefits. Raw apple cider vinegar is a tremendous health food.
I personally think that when a rich meal is served, a small serving of fermented or pickled vegetable always hits the spot. When I have a (heavy) meal like a rib-eye steak with a side of cheddar risotto, a side of something pickled is the perfect accompaniment.
It is a palate cleansing, refreshing burst in contrast to a salty, rich meal.
Remember that enormous plate of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, beans, corn pudding, sweet potatoes and gravy you ate last week? Remember how refreshing the cranberry sauce was in contrast? Sweet, tart, tangy, satisfying.
Fermented/ Pickled foods have this same refreshing effect on any meal. It is like a natural antacid.
Does anyone else out there partake in recreational eating? It’s what I call continuing to eat long after I am satisfied because the food is ….. still there… and still yummy…. and still sitting before me wanting me to eat it.
After a big night of recreational eating I need pickled beets, or something similar.
When I have indulged a little too much on beef and carbs it is amazing what a tablespoon of a fermented/ pickled vegetable will do. It not only relieves that “too full” feeling, it also acts like a natural antacid. It settles my stomach, helps digestion and leaves me feeling more refreshed and less bloated.
Even if you didn’t over-eat, you should include pickled foods in your diet.
If you want the health benefits but don’t want to eat pickles every day, pickled beets may hit the spot.
I have failed at making pickled beets in my past.
In my defense, I followed the directions in the Ball Blue Book exactly. I have had tremendous success with dozens of recipes in the Ball Blue Book. Pickled beets was not one of them.
I always like when I have some failures. Well, I don’t like failing – it’s not very fun – but I learn a lot. I like what I learn from failure.
I don’t like people who have perfect gardens, perfect farms and perfect cows (who never get mastitis). You don’t need to worry about finding that here. This blog is real life, real cabbage worms, real mastitis and real kids. Failures and all.
The saying is, “Experience is the mother of all teachers.”
It should be, “Failure is the mother of all teachers.”
I have failed. I have succeeded. I have learned.
Yea! Let’s pickle some beets!
Last year the pickled beets were terrible.
The beets were inedible.
The chickens ate the beets.
This year I grew beets again to see if I could make some pickled beets that were edible.
If you want your beets to taste like beets and not like dirt you must peel them.
Before you boil them, roast them, bake them or cook them in any way –
Sorry, I don’t mean to yell. I just don’t want you to have to eat dirt-flavored beets. Get the peels off now.
Once they are peeled you can cook them any way you prefer. I had such disastrous results boiling mine last year, I decided to never do that again. I laid mine out on a baking sheet and roasted them in the oven.
Just cut the tops off leaving 2 inches of stems.
While they were baking I made the brine.
In a sauce pan I heated: water, vinegar, salt, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg.
Once the brine was done I checked the beets. I accidentally cooked mine to death. The bright side was that they were beyond tender.
I sliced them neatly and crammed them into jars.
I covered them with the brine, adjusted lids and rims and transferred them to the refrigerator.
I am happy to report that the beets are fabulous this year.
Sweet, tender, tart, tangy
When serving a side dish of pickled or fermented vegetables you only need offer a tablespoon or so. A little bit goes a long way.
It is far better to enjoy a couple tablespoons every day rather than eat an entire jar in one sitting. Think of them as vitamins you eat with your meal. They can improve your health, increase your probiotics, aid your digestion – it only takes a little.
They are a refreshing, bright side-dish to any heavy, comfort-food, winter-y meal.
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Sweet, tender, tart, tangy. Pickled beets are a palate cleansing, refreshing accompaniment to any meal.
To prepare beets:
Cut off the tops of your beets (you can leave an inch or 2 of stem). Peel & lay your beets on a baking sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven until fork tender.
Let cool and slice.
To make brine:
Combine all ingredients except beets in a sauce-pot. Bring to simmer – reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Pack beet slices into hot jars. Ladle hot liquid over beets leaving 1/4 ” head space. Adjust lids and rims. Move to refrigerator or process pints 30 minutes in boiling-water bath.
Disclaimer: Always follow directions specific to your equipment and elevation for canning. Dispose of any home canned goods that show signs of spoilage which can include: bulging lids, leaking, corrosion, cloudy, mushy, moldy foods or disagreeable odors.