Tag Archives: beets

A Season for Preserving Food

7 Aug

I swear all I’ve done the last couple of weeks is prepare food for the winter.

That includes a lot of mozzarella cheese for me and the family.  I still have to do mozzarella sticks.  I’m also making chevre.

I have plenty of sweet corn frozen.

Some of the goats have taken advantage of my corn shucks being tossed out. Everyone else was still out in pasture.

Dolly and Cookie

Cookie in particular has been good about coming up early to sneak a treat.

My tomato plants are dying; I lost a lot to rot from the hail; I am picking them early to preserve every drop of liquid in them, but I am working on canning the tomatoes that are left.

I have cold pack tomatoes.

I am making sauce for the family now.

I have also been chopping and freezing okra and hot peppers.  This year I decided to try canning my roasted beets with a honey rosemary glaze instead of freezing them.

I just need the Habanero peppers to turn orange so I can make my son’s salsa.

Just as I finish this summer canning, I’m going to move on to the fall stuff because I’m seeing orange in the garden.

I think I might be ready for the first frost this year.

Ethel’s Best Pickled Beets

23 Jul

I am not a fan of pickled beets, but I do like to garden, and I do like to feed people, so I will occasionally can my dad some pickled beets.

I am using the recipe his mother used.  It’s called “Ethel’s Best Pickled Beets” on her recipe card.  I assume the Ethel she is referring to is her sister-in-law, my great-aunt.  In other words, this is a family recipe that is quite old.

I pulled some beets from the garden because they needed to be thinned.

When I was ready to make my pickled beets, I trimmed them.  Leave just about an inch of the stems and an inch of root.

Then scrub them as clean as you can get them.  I actually use my green scotch pad to scrub them.

Then you put the beets in a pot of water, making sure you have enough to completely cover them, and boil them for about twenty-five minutes.

Do not discard the water.  Remove the beets and the skins will just slip off.

Now you can cut off the rest of the stems and roots.  Honestly, they will probably just rub off with the skin.  Slice or dice the beets.  If they are small (2 inches or less in diameter) you can leave them whole.

Place them in the jars you plan on canning them in.  I got five pints from those few that I pulled.

To make the pickling, you will use your reserved beet water, vinegar and sugar in equal amounts.  For the small batch I was canning, I used 1 1/2 cups of each.  I had more than I needed.  That is the nice thing about this recipe.  You can make whatever amount works for you; just keep the 1:1:1 ratio for the pickling liquid.

The first time I made these, I was rather disgusted with the thought of using the water the beets were boiled in.  I measured out my water and then decided to run it through a milk filter.  To my surprise, it was clean.  There was not a single drop of dirt in the filter.  If you don’t believe me or just want to feel better about it, you can always strain the water through a coffee filter.  Place your water, vinegar, and sugar into a pan and heat to dissolve the sugar.

Then pour it over the beets, filling the jar to 1/2 inch (another pickled beet recipe I looked at said 1/4 inch) from the top.

Wipe the rims of the jars clean and adjust the lids.  Process the jars (pint or quart) in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.  These are best left for a day or two before eating.

Since I had some of the pickling juice left, I decided to slice a cucumber from the garden.

They became pink refrigerator pickles.

For the record, they were delicious.

Should I Be Doing This

12 Aug

When I do a recipe for the blog, I like to come up with my own unique recipes.  Sometimes, I’m pretty confident things will turn out well; other times, I’m shocked if it’s edible.  Do you ever have one of those days when you start something and then wonder if you should be doing it?  Like you forget to take your margarine out to soften.  Then every time you try letting go of the spoon to measure your next ingredient, the spoon falls down into the batter.  No?  Me either.  Actually, that’s exactly what happened when I decided to try my Chocolate Macaroon Beet Cake.

After creaming the butter and sugar and mixing in the liquid stuff and the beets, I might have noticed that I hadn’t mashed all the beets really well and had to pick the chunks out to finish smashing.

Then I put the cocoa into all the liquid stuff, and decided maybe I should have put the flour in first because the cocoa and the batter were kind of like oil and water and refused to mix.  I tried using the electric mixer, and that just sent plumes of cocoa into the air.  So I added the flour and everything mixed perfectly then.

The macaroon filling was easy peasy!  No problems mixing it up.

Then I couldn’t decide how to bake it.  I like easy flat cake pans, but I was struggling with how to get the macaroon filling in each piece of cake.  I could drop a spoonfull into each piece, but that would require precise cutting, and I’m questionable at cutting a straight line on a good day.  I could just drizzle it everywhere randomly.  Then how would I cover it?  I finally decided I had to go with the bundt pan, which is traditional for a macaroon cake.  That meant going to the basement and finding it and removing all the dead bugs and washing, and I finally got to the point where I could use the pan!

I know the picture is out of order, but I really was just trying to get this done without thinking of all the pictures I would need.

I almost forgot to grease and flour it, but luckily I remembered in time.  Don’t worry.  If I hadn’t, I’d have eaten the cake out of the pan.  Seriously.  After greasing and flouring the pan, I put half my batter in.  I thought I did well because I only had one drip through the hole in the middle of the pan.

I spooned my macaroon filling on top.

Then I covered it with the rest of the cake batter.  I might have dripped a couple more times, but that just let me have a chance to taste the batter and make my predictions on how the cake will turn out.

The bundt pan also means I had to dig through the cupboards and find my cake platter, and that meant more bug removal and washing before I could use it.  But…

It’s blog worthy!  Seriously.  It turned out amazingly well considering it was not really one of my better baking days.

It is a rich decadant chocolate cake; the macaroon filling has a bit of tang, and the fudge sauce is yummy!  I can honestly say that because my official taste tester mom said so too.  Is there a better recommendation than “her mom said so?”

Macaroon Beet Cake

Cake batter:

1/2 C butter, softened
1 3/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup beet puree
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa

In large mixing pan, cream together butter, sugar and eggs.  Add buttermilk, vanilla and beet puree.  Add the dry ingredients and beat till smooth.  Set aside.

Macaroon Filling:

8 oz chevre (or cream cheese)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Cups coconut

Mix it all together.

Grease and flour a bundt pan.  Pour half the cake batter into the pan.  Spoon the macaroon filling around onto the center of the batter and cover with the rest of the batter.  Bake in a 350*F oven for 45 – 55 minutes.  When it is completely cooled, remove it from the pan and glaze with the fudge sauce.

Fudge Sauce:

In a double boiler, heat until everything is melted and smooth.  Drizzle over the top of the cake.

3/4 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. margarine
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla