Tag Archives: beets

Pickled Beets


This post is part of my REWIND series!  Pretend it’s July and enjoy.  🙂

It’s been 99 in the shade here all week.  So much heat and humidity has caused the garden to either accelerate growth (as in bolting lettuces) or decelerate growth (like the leeks that would prefer cooler temps).

Beets fresh from the garden and ready for the royal treatment.

Beets fresh from the garden and ready for the royal treatment.

I had noticed that my beets were just the right size for harvesting, and since the heat was doing them no good I pulled them out yesterday and did some pickling. It might seem counter intuitive to boil a huge vat of water on a 99 degree day, but  when the produce is ready it’s time to can–regardless of the weather.  It’s on days like this that I’m thankful for central air!  I’m not sure how our ancestors processed all their food in this heat.

I used a recipe from an older canning book, it didn’t tell me how many pounds of beets I would need or how long to boil the syrup.  Hopefully I guessed correctly!

I used this old recipe and it turned out to be delicious.

I used this old recipe and it turned out to be delicious.

The beets needed to be boiled then peeled.  Most I kept whole, although there were some larger ones that I cut in half before placing into jars.

Cooked and peeled beets.

Cooked and peeled beets.

I truly enjoy food projects.  Working with food makes me happy and I love to think about the time when we will open up the jar and enjoy those beets in the future.  I feel like I’m really participating in the feeding of my family in a completely hands-on way.

As I worked with the beets I admired their deep red color.  So much nutrition packed into those jewel-toned beauties.  Growing beets has been a fun and easy, gratifying experience.

This was an easy and rewarding project.

This was an easy and rewarding project.

[And now a word from present day me, January 2013.]  The final product was enjoyed with a few meals and shared with a special friend.  These beets had that old-fashioned taste I had hoped for, and the spices gave them a bit of a holiday flair.  I only wish I had more than four jars because they are already gone!  I will definitely be canning beets again this year.

Jars of pickled beets all ready for storage and gifting.

Jars of pickled beets all ready for storage and gifting.

Advertisements

Photos from the month of April.


To better view the photos in this edition of “Photos from…” click on a photo.  You’ll be able to scroll through a slide show of all the photos.

The beet ravioli recipe is here:  Michael Symon’s Goat Cheese and Beet Ravioli.  I substituted ricotta cheese for the goat cheese and sage for the tarragon with delicious results.

Photos from the last week of August.


My daughter reaches for a tomato, later I turned this bowl of garden goodies into dinner.

Three giant fennel are the last to be harvested. I kept them in extra long because they attract butterflies and beneficial insects.

I pulled the beets. They weren't the largest beets, but they were packed with flavor.

Look, a square tomato!

The 'Green Zebra' tomatoes are ready to pick when they turn Packer green and gold.

Aha! All those purple peppers on the 'Chinese 5 Color' pepper plant are now turning different colors. So pretty!

Here is a peek at the corn.

A 'Delicata' squash. It doubles in size every day.

Photos from the third week of June.


Lavender is beginning to flower. Soon it will be attracting beneficial insects to the garden.

My honeysuckle has been attacked by aphids.

Garlic scapes are the flower stem of garlic. I harvest them and use them for pesto and salads. They have a light garlicky flavor.

Beet greens with water beads after a rain.

Fennel fronds hold beads of water after a rain.

Nasturtium leaves also make a nice resting place for water beads.

This rosemary plant is getting bigger by the minute, I've already harvested from it too! I'm so happy I decided to replace the rosemary I overwintered in the house. This one is much healthier.

I use this veggie bed to rotate crops during the season. Currently it has lettuce, tomatoes, peas, corn (which gets eaten every night, I wonder if we'll get any of it), beans, squash and garlic. Seem like alot? The peas, lettuce and garlic will soon be pulled to make more room for the other plants.

A look at the final baby robin to leave the nest as he contemplates taking the leap.

Photos from the second week of May.


Peas keep coming up. Looking forward to eating these fresh out of the garden.

60 gladioli for $4, not a bad deal! Love how these add color in otherwise drab spots of my yard.

Started the process of hardening off seedlings this week.

Baby spinach ready for harvesting. Enjoyed some on my Mother's Day panini.

Beet seedlings emerge. I love how they are red, just like the beets.

A purple hyacinth, so pretty especially close-up.

A lovely tulip bouquet from the garden.

Planning my garden, graciously.


Working a small urban garden requires creativity and planning.  With limited space and sometimes odd sun and shade patterns, a gardener needs to have a strategy for working the space.

My 2010 garden was the first garden I planned in which I purposely planted early and late crops, tall and small crops, quick growers and slow growers together but in harmony with one another in order to make the most of my space.  For a first timer, I did pretty well! 

Before and after, the vegetables filled in the entire space.

In one raised bed I started the season with peas, lettuces, arugula and radishes.  As those were being harvested, the cucumbers began to take precedence in the space, happily climbing up trellis in the middle of loose leaf lettuce.  I was picking the cucumbers by the time the pumpkins really needed to sprawl out, and was able to pull out the cucumber vines when they were done producing so that the pumpkins could have the whole bed to themselves for the end of the season.  When pumpkins were done in October, I planted garlic.  The garlic will kick off the 2011 season when it shoots out of ground in about a month.

Peas and lettuces fill this bed in May and June.

By the end of June, cucumbers are climbing up the trellises.

Pumpkins take over the space to close out the season.

 

In the other bed, things got even crazier.  Carrots were planted in a line down the entire length of the bed, dividing it.  They took a break in the middle of the bed to give the leeks a 1′ x 1′ space to grow.  I only grew 8 small leeks in that space, but they did grow!

Beneath tomato plants, I planted beets; next to those, marigolds.  Cabbages and radicchio were neighbors to the spinach.  Beans grew on both sides of the bed, and in the last remaining space I put fennel seedlings. 

Close quarters for the fennel and beans.

Leeks filling a small space.

Marigolds, tomatoes and beets.

It was about mid-season when I realized how much the sun was affecting one corner of that bed.  A tree was keeping it shaded for a few hours more than the rest of the garden, so the beans on that side did poorly.  And the insects really liked the damp microclimate that was created by the shade.  This was compounded by the fact that things were planted closely together, essentially shading each other.  This year I will know this and plant accordingly. 

There are many ways to plan a garden, I prefer to sketch things out beforehand, making sure I’ve got a spot for everything.  Besides the raised beds, I use pots and flower beds along my house as well.  All of these end up on my sketches, labeled with the intended occupant.

Once I’m out in the garden putting the plants in, I often make changes to my plan.  It’s the gardener’s prerogative I suppose.  Sometimes something doesn’t feel right, or look right.  I change it.  Sometimes what seemed like a good idea during a February planning session turns out to be a ridiculous idea in reality.  I’m open to that.

Last year I wanted to grow celeriac–arguably the ugliest vegetable.  I love soup made with celeriac, onions, apples and potatoes in the fall.  It didn’t work out though.  Turns out celeriac needs to be started really early, and my plan didn’t call for that.  When I realized this I had to make some changes.  No big deal though.  A garden is a very fluid thing.  It ebbs and flows.  It changes itself depending on sun, water and other weather conditions.  The gardener takes a cue from the garden itself and adjusts accordingly.

I’m working on my 2011 plan right now.  It looks like I’ll need to buy some new supports for beans.  I also need to think about how many vining plants I can realistically grow in a small space.  I’m so tempted to try melons and squash as well as cucumbers, but how to manage so many vines?  It really does require a plan, and probably some prudence as well.

I’m reminded of The Parable of the Sower (Matthew, chapter 13)  in which the farmer scattered seed over various surfaces with equally varied results.  We all know you can’t grow a seed on a path, a rock or among the thorns.  Good soil produces good results.  Likewise, God’s Word works on the soil that is ready to receive it.  My heart needs to be a vessel of good soil, ready for God to work it.  I can’t let the thorns take over my heart or let someone or something steal the Word from me because I’ve covered my heart with a path.  And I certainly don’t want God to find a rocky place when he comes to sow his seed. 

I’m making my garden plans, and I’m also preparing my heart for God.  It’s something I am reminded of when I think of my garden and the act of sowing seeds.  I know my heart can be a beautiful garden filled with the scent and beauty of God’s love.  “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it.  He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”  Matthew 13:23

I hope my garden here at home is as abundant as that in the parable!

An "abundance" of eggplant grows next to the house.