Monday, August 17, 2009

First Cuc and More Canning

Stand back, folks, I don't want anybody to get hurt by this gigantus cucumber rolling on them!

Our very first cucumber of the season of pickable size . . . well, close to pickable size, anyway. (And it's about time. Talk about slow this year.) Oh, and yes, I grew that watermelon you can see in the upper left hand corner of the picture. (That's why it has a label on it saying Hidalgo, Texas.)

Back on the canning front, I did manage to get a batch of pickled beets put up last week. Eight pints are socked away for winter usage. (A grilled cheese sandwich for lunch on a cold winter's day with a few slices of pickled beets on the side . . .mmm , yum!) I would have liked to do another batch of pickled beets but the rest of our crop is already frozen, ready to be heated up and served with butter, salt and pepper. Hot, buttered beets taste SO good to me in the cold months.

Here are the pickled beets, fresh out of the canner, cooling on the counter. Confession: I've already opened one jar. I couldn't help it. I'm constantly searching for a pickled beet recipe that is juuust a little better than the one I have . . . and I'm pleased to report this one is the best I've come across. (Thanks to my good friend J for sharing!)

Have you ever saved the juice in the jar when the last of the beets have been eaten? Roy and I both enjoy hard boiled eggs for lunch (or a snack) now and then so it's fun to boil an egg, peel it and drop it into the remaining beet juice to marinate for a day or so before fishing it out and partaking of a . . . pink pickled egg! It just adds a little different flavor to a hard boiled egg.

Well, it's certainly not winter time yet but I'm at a complete loss as to what to fix for dinner tonight so I think I'll go with the ol' grilled cheese sandwich, a small tossed salad from the garden, and some colorful pickled beets on the side. Would you like some onions on your grilled cheese sandwich or no?


Erin said...

My nose instantly wrinkles at the thought of beets, but WOW yours are a beautiful color!

Mama Pea said...

Thank you, ma'am! Have you ever tasted really fresh ones . . . like out of a garden? If they are "old" they can have a bitter flavor which is really yucky and would make anyone's nose wrinkle.

Erin said...

I must admit I have never tasted them, period! I only saw one on a salad once and I was upset it turned my lettuce red! They look mushy and I don't do mushy! I would, however, like to SMELL a fresh one, lol...that's the first step, right?!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - In my humble opinion, beets (either as a cooked veggie or pickled) should never be mushy! And because of a beet's denseness, I think you'd probably have to cook it for a couple of days to get it mushy! (Before freezing, canning or making pickled beets, you have to "blanch" the little orbs for about 30 minutes . . . 45 for big ones!)

I have this picture in my mind of you seeking out a beet in the produce section of a store, picking it up, furtively checking to make sure no one is looking and then taking a couple of big whiffs of it. As you say, that's the first step!

RuthieJ said...

Oh those pickled beets look so pretty. I just like them cooked with a little orange sauce. Yummy! My mom still can't believe I now eat beets willingly--I hated them when I was a kid.

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - Good girl! Beets are GOOD for you!