July 07, 2010

Savory Pickled Beets

3 lbs peeled, cooked beets cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons dill seed
2 teaspoons peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon salt
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 onion, sliced thinly (about 3/4 cup)

Place all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Prep your jars. Pack the beets into the warm jars and ladle the pickling solution over them. Leave a 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a water bath for 30 minutes.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:
Last summer my goal was to teach myself how to can. I didn't get to it because I was unexpectedly busy developing recipes for my cookbook but I have read dozens of canning books just waiting for the growing season to begin here. It turns out canning is a lot easier than I thought. It is slightly trickier to develop a new canning recipe because I have to make sure that I use enough ingredients to actually fill the jars and acidic ingredients to keep it safe enough for water bath canning but it isn't terribly difficult. The ratio of brine to vegetable is pretty consistent in the recipes I've read so when I decided to make my canning debut, I had a good idea how much vinegar I needed to pickle my beets. I have always loved the idea of pickled beets but most commercial jars of beets and recipe call for a much sweeter and cinnamon-clove spice flavor profile than I'd want to eat. I really wanted pickled, pickled beets, if that makes sense. I wanted the flavors to be closer to that of a cucumber pickle. So I followed the basic ratios but used the ingredients and flavors that I would enjoy. I am happy to stay I succeeded! The flavors are savory and sharp but still complement the beet. Lovely directly out of the jar and in salads.