Saturday, August 8, 2009

Puttin' Up Beets

We had two sets of drop-in visitors this morning and by the time the last left, my tummy was growling like a bear and it was lunch time. Accck, I hadn't even had time to figure out what my plan of action for the day was.

Over sandwiches for lunch, Roy suggested it would be a good idea to get the beets harvested and in the freezer while they were still tender. Umm, that's a job I'd prefer to start first thing of a morning, I thought. Then he added, "I'll help." It's a deal! Let's do it.

I planted one bed (4' x 8") of beets this year. Not quite a third of the bed is Early Wonder Tall Top and the rest is Forono. I thought I'd save the Forono for pickled beets so I went out and pulled all of the Tall Tops for freezing.

We got a wheelbarrow almost full.

Roy cut off the stems leaving 1/2-1" on the ends.

We got a 5-gallon bucket nearly full of beets. He filled the bucket with water and let them soak for a little while to get off most of the dirt while I went inside to set things up in the kitchen.

Then he rinsed each beet a bit as he transferred them to two smaller pails that I brought inside.

I washed each beet fairly well in the kitchen sink before sorting them into the different sizes.

Most of them were large, a fair amount medium, and just a few small size. The small ones cooked to 'just tender' in 30 minutes, the large ones took a little over 45.

When they were cooked, I put them in cold water to stop the cooking action and make them cool enough to handle. I could slip the skins off with my fingers with no problem. Easy peasy.

Then I cut them in uniform slices.

Roy was official packer, putting them into bags for the freezer.

Haul for the day: Twenty-three 2-serving bags. I think I'd like to shoot for a total of 40 servings (a serving being enough for the two of us) so that means we'll have to do this again using some of the Forono beets. There are plenty of them to use for freezing and still have enough for making pickled beets. Niiiice crop of beets!


MaineCelt said...

Gosh, you must feel...beet.

(Ducking and running)

Thanks for the pictures of the process. It's helpful to see it all laid out, though the shot of those three buckets of soaking beets waiting to be rinsed makes my back twinge involuntarily.

I LOVE beets and planted two beds of them myself this year. Guess how many came up? At last count... a grand total of three!!! My favorites are Early Wonder Tall Top (yay!), Bulls Blood, and Chioggia (aka "the kind you slice and see a bullseye.")

Congrats on your harvest!

(Note wv: "fiestiv." A meal with beets always looks more fiestiv!)

Mama Pea said...

MaineCelt - Dang! "I'm Beet!" Why didn't I think of that for the title of the post? You are so clever.

Two beds of beets and only three germinated? Oh, Sweetie, you make me feel SO guilty for whining about MY garden!

I've grown Chioggia beets, too, and you'd be surprised how many people have no idea what they are when served them. ('Course, I've also come to realize that not that many people eat beets . . . period.)

I agree wholeheartedly that beets are "fiestiv!" I think that's a check in their pro column . . . they add so much COLOR to a plate.

Jody M said...

I canned our yellow beets this year (first time), and had to boil them in two batches...well. The first batch I didn't boil long enough so the skins didn't just come right off. What a pain, I had to scrape them off with the back of a knife! I used a lot of colorful language. 2nd batch I let boil longer. :)

Half of them had split in the ground. Didn't have that problem with last year's yellow beets. These also had white flesh while last year's had nice yellow flesh. I don't think I'll grow this variety of yellow again.

I have a 2nd batch of beets just seeded, those are red. I love beets, I'm always surprised when I find someone who doesn't eat them. I can't imagine why not.

Mama Pea said...

Jody - I think we've had just exactly the right weather for beets this year because I've never grown ones that sized up so fast, were so tender, and looked so nice.

I'm going to attack the rest of them tomorrow because we're expecting some really hot weather later in the week and I don't think that will be very good for the beets.

I've never grown the yellow ones but they've always intrigued me. Sorry yours weren't the greatest this year.

RuthieJ said...

Wow - great beet harvest!!
I love beets, but had a disappointing harvest this year. I'll have to see if I can pick some up at a roadside stand or the farmer's market.

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - Isn't it funny how some years certain crops do so much better than other years.

My beets this year were the nicest I can ever remember having. very tender and no "scabbing" on the skins at all.

Hope you can snag some at a market so you aren't "beetless" this winter.