We like beets in our house. I realize that most people have a strong opinion of them. I’ve never met anyone who was on the fence about them. You either love them, or you hate them. I happen to love them. Aya never liked them until I made my homemade pickled beets. She liked them so much she let me make a four course beet meal. Yes, beets! And it was beet-tastically delicious, and even ended with a chocolate beet cake!
Anyway, it had been awhile since I made anything with beets, and Aya requested a batch of my homemade pickled beets. No problem! You want beets? Coming up!
I was at the farmer’s market when I had Aya’s beet request fresh in my head. They had a big box of beets, 5 lbs for 5 dollars. That’s an awesome deal, I’d be stupid not to get it, I thought. Not knowing if it really was a good deal or not, I bought all five pounds. But it wasn’t until I was home did it occur to me that we were leaving for Japan in four days. What was I going to do with five pounds of beets!?
I didn’t want to let them go bad, that was a lot of beets, and five bucks just to throw away. And with beets being such a loved and sought after vegetable, who was I going to find that wanted five pounds of beets. The only way I figured I could get rid of them was to offer them with free beer. “FREE BEER!.. and beets.”
After letting the beets sit around for a day or two, I decided I would use all the beets to make a giant batch of pickled beets and then can them. (I’m not sure why they call it canning when it’s clearly jars you use.) It couldn’t be that difficult, right? The only problem was I never canned anything before, and had no supplies. And now we were leaving for Japan in two days. And of course we still needed to pack and run errands and everything for that, and I decided to go on a marathon canning spree, which I’ve never done before. I’m not really sure what I was thinking and neither was Aya. “You’re doing what?… Now!?”
I called my neighbor to ask some canning questions and she generously offered me her canning equipment and a quick tutorial on the best way to go about the process. Awesome! Now all I needed were some cans. I mean jars. Jars for canning…? Yes we CAN do this! Good thing Meijer is open 24 hours because you never know when you are going to need jars for canning at 11pm.
Let the beetings begin!
Working with beets is kind of fun because it makes such a bloody mess. I might as well have been skinning a deer in my kitchen because the sink would look the same afterwards. It’s like being a butcher of the vegetable world. Between the boiling, peeling, and slicing of the beets, you make quite a mess. Every time I held a boiled beet in my hand, I’d think of that scene in Dances With Wolves when they eat the raw buffalo heart. Is that weird?
Making pickled beets is also fun because it’s a really simple process. This batch took awhile because of the large quantity though. I usually make two to three cups of beets, but this was so much more. If you’re wondering how many pickled beets you can make with 5lbs, I’ll tell you; 16 cups!
I let the beets pickle overnight before I started canning. And the canning process was soo easy. Too easy it made me think I was doing something wrong. I put the jars into the canning cage, and once the water came to a roaring boil, I slowly lowered the cage into the water. I let them boil for about 45 minutes and then removed them and gently placed them on a towel on the counter. Then all you had to do was wait for the jars to go pop. POP! It worked!
Now all I had to do was figure out what to do with 16 jars of beets. I gave a few away to people I thought were beet appreciators and then we kept the rest. It’s a good thing too because Ellie loves beets now and we only have two jars left!
I better keep my eye on that last jar though, I don’t want anyone to beet me to it.