Thursday, July 22, 2010

It Looks Like a Crime Scene

I wonder if it's possible to process beets without the kitchen and cook looking as if something awful happened?

Today I started harvesting beets to use in making pickled beets. Last year I made only 7 pints pickled and put the rest up frozen to use as a hot veggie with butter, salt and pepper. Well, we went through those 7 pickled pints lickety-split so I knew this year I wanted to do many, many more. (And we still have some of the frozen ones patiently waiting in the freezer to be eaten.)

The great beet project didn't start until after noon so I got only one batch done. The goal is to do at least two batches tomorrow.

So far I've had to wipe beet red splatters and splashes off the white kitchen cupboards, side of the refrigerator, the stove top, the wall above the sink, the floor, miscellaneous counter tops, the kitchen table, my face, my arms up to both elbows . . . and, um, does beet juice stain? As on a white blouse? It's an old blouse that I wear in the garden because it's cool and comfortable but the red splotches on the front don't make it look any better.

Ask me why the jars of pickled beets cooling on the counter are ve-e-e-ry sticky. Seems as soon as I loaded the jars into the water bath canner, I heard a very sharp C-R-A-C-K. Yup, I knew a jar had cracked. That doesn't happen very often but as all of you who preserve by canning know, it does happen. My water was boiling and there were six good jars in the canner so nuthin' I could do at that point except let the jars go the allotted time and clean up the mess when the beets were finished being processed.

Actually, it wasn't as much of a mess as it could have been. The break in the jar was clean and although juice leaked out immediately, the jar held together enough that the beet slices all stayed contained in the jar . . . until I tried to life it out of the canner.

I didn't set up the sprinkler in the garden today as I had intended to do so we're hoping for some rain overnight. Showers are in the forecast on and off for the next couple of days. Hope they don't pass us by.


RuthieJ said...

Yum! What a treat! My beets were only half successful this year. I'll probably have to visit the farmer's market to supplement my harvest.

Lorie said...

Looks good, but beets are messy no matter how you handle them. I make a fermented pickled beet. It ferments in whey and they last in the fridge forever. They are sooooo good. No canning is a plus for me as I do enough of it with other garden goodies. Today I made fermented sauerkraut, and gingered carrots. This certainly is a busy time in the garden and kitchen.

Erin said...

Beets, shmeets...blech!! LOL, I'd rather eat rhubarb! Seriously though, so glad that didn't happen in a cabinet or pantry where you might not have seen the mess for awhile, and thankful you are okay! And, I FINALLY tried "real" beets last weekend at our gardeners group BBQ. When I said I hadn't tried them because they always look so slimy and yucky on a salad bar someone said "oh, those are gross, here, try these..." I was put on the spot! So I munched away and complimented the cook (they were better than the salad bar LOL) but they aren't for me! I am quickly running out of northern vegetables to grow, aren't I? I don't like okra or collards, so I don't fit in here either! And Lorie is busy FERMENTING the beets LOL... just kidding, I will keep on trying them until I find one I like! Bonus from the bbq was that I was assaulted with 20 ways to prepare zucchini, which is always helpful info to squirrel away :)

Patty said...

They look great, Mama Pea! I can't wiat to pickle mine, but they're a bit behind yours. I hope in a couple of weeks they'll be ready. If the last week's progress in any indication, I'm sure they'll will be!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Yeah, it will stain your shirt. Just look your enemy in the eye and tell them what happened to the last person who ticked ya off! You could wear it in the garden still. Along with your stockings! :)

Judy D in WA said...

I cannot wait to get beets to pickle. I even planted another row just to make sure I had enough.
Too bad there was a casualty! Your jars look loverly.

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Those look so good!! I love pickled beets. Going to have to buy some at the store later...

Mama Pea said...

Ruthie - Yields have really been wonky this year in gardens all over the country. What gives?

Lorie - Is your fermented beet recipe very complicated? Would you consider sharing it, please? Fermented veggies are supposed to be very, very good for us and I know we should try to eat more fermented foods.

Erin - We'll just keep you alive with potatoes! ;o)

Patty - Yep, I'm thinking all the veggies are going to be growing by leaps and bounds now.

Apple Pie Gal - Just another little glitch in my trying to make a fashion statement. Sigh.

Judy - Thanks! I, too, planted some "extra" beets just so I would have enough!

Jen - Hope mine are good this year. Hubby suggested I cut the sugar a wee bit from last year, so I did so.

Lorie said...

Yes, the fermented beets is really easy. I use a recipe from Nourishing Traditions...will post soon at my Lavender Haze blog site. BTW I think your knees look great

Mama Pea said...

Lori - Well, I'll be! I've looked at the fermented beet recipe in Sally Fallon's book but have just never gotten around to trying it. Now I will!

Bless you, my child, for saying my knees look great. Amen.