Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pickled Beets- a Fall Tradition

By the end of September, I will have canned my pickled beets.  So much better than store bought!  In exchange for a day of labour, beet red hands and a little sweat, I will enjoy a winter of delicious beets.  This is my recipe, but every canner has his or her own version- a little less spice, a little more sugar, white vinegar, cider vinegar... you get the picture.  These are best made with a friend to share the job, and the bounty.

To make 4 500-ml jars.  Feel free to double or triple.

1     lb beets (red, orange, white...)
2     cups, liquid from cooked beets
1     cup cider vinegar
1     white onion, sliced
1/4  cup white sugar, or to taste
1     tbsp star anise
1     tbsp whole cloves
pinch of salt

Prepare your jars and lids- keep the jars hot.

Put the beets in a large saucepan and add water to cover.  If using different coloured beets, cook them separately.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the beets are tender, about 25 minutes.  Drain the beets, reserving two cups of the liquid.

When cool enough to handle, peel and slice 1/4-inch thick.  Divide the beet and onion slices among the jars.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the reserved cooking liquid, vinegar, sugar, star anise, cloves and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Ladle the hot vinegar into the jars, evenly distributing the spices and leaving 1/2-inch headspace.  Remove any air bubbles.  Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.

Process the jars for seven minutes in a boiling water bath.  Remove from the water and let stand until cooled.  Set aside for one week to let the flavours develop.  The sealed jars can be stored for up to six months in a cool, dark place.  If a seal fails, store in the refrigerator.

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