channel your innner grandmother: pickle something

beet2My kitchen is full of the spicy sweet scent of pickling.

I don’t know why, but I woke up and thought I might try pickling some of those glorious beets I purchased from NorthStar Orchards at East Goshen Farmers’ Market yesterday.

I already have the jars, so I went to the store and bought fresh apple cider vinegar, new pickling spice and a bag of cipollini onions.

Yes I channeled my inner Pennsylvania German heritage and I swear somewhere up there my mumma is smiling.  A pickled beet is a sweet pickle, and that makes me think of her.  My great aunts on my father’s side were Italian and they did the hot pickled peppers and when I was really little I remember them canning tomatoes and peaches.

I did not do the whole hot water canning method.  These are a small batch of simple pickled beets that will keep refrigerated about six months or so. I kick them up a notch by adding dill and hot pepper flakes and garlic. I hadn’t written this down before so I hope my proportions are right….

Here is how you do it:

6 to 8 medium to large fresh beets, scrubbed and top free*

2 cups sugar

2  cups cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Kosher salt

2 cinnamon sticks broken up

6 cloves of garlic not peeled

1 bag of small pearl or cipollini onions not peeled

1 Tablespoon  allspice

4Tablespoons pickling spice

4 Tablespoons dill- freeze-dried or fresh chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons hot pepper flakes

Makes 3 jars – these jars in my photo are the Weck 744 Tulip and they hold about 2 cups of whatever in them. I think in European measuring they are 1/2 liter. I love these Weck jars. They have wide mouths and can even go in the freezer.

*Option I should mention:
Roast beets in foil instead of boiling. If you roast, roast in a pan in an aluminum foil “bag” at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Put beets in a large saucepan or stockpot and add enough cold water to cover them  a few inches over the top. Bring to  boil, then turn heat down to maintain a slow boil. Cook until beets are tender when pierced, about 40 minutes.

Pour water off and let beets cool. Slip skins off once the beets are cool enough to handle. Slice and set aside.

Boil another pot of water.  When water is roiling and boiling, toss the little onions in skis and all.  When a scant three minutes have passed, lift onions out and allow to cool.  If you take a kitchen scissors and snip the end of the onion bulb you should then be able to easily peel these onions or pop them out of their skins. After they are clean set aside whole.

Place the sugar, cider vinegar, water, salt, and spices in yet another saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn off.

Working quickly so pickling liquid doesn’t cool off too much, arrange beets and garlic and onions evenly in your jars.  Ladle in the liquid  so it covers the vegetables(you might have a little left over, just toss it if so).
Cover with  lids, seal,  and cool down.  When jars are room temperature, put them in refrigerator.

Let the beets sit at least ten days before tasting.

Keep in the refrigerator up to 6 months. Maybe 8.

sexy lettuce

DSC_0188That got your attention, right?  The East Goshen Farmers Market was fab in spite of the heat yesterday….keep wondering when the former market manager (now manager of Malvern) will stop sending people to shop her old market, right?

I mean what is so difficult to comprehend that (a) there is more than enough demand for multiple markets  (b) that the East Goshen Market is better than it was last year ? I mean we are all adults, right?

So why not just stop the petty middle school lunch table competition?  And why did I hear again how farmers interested in being in both East Goshen and Malvern’s markets because they are Thursday and Saturday respectively had to choose ONE market by one of Malvern’s market managers?  And what is this thing about how the Malvern Market is using some vendor contract that is used by Farm to City farmers and how that is apparent justification for this “choose a market” scenario? If that was actually true then why is it so many of the vendors in the Farm to City Farmers Market in Bryn Mawr are also in the Malvern Farmers Market? And both on the same day no less according to their respective websites?

It seems to me that the ladies of the Malvern Farmers Market need to live and let live.  It is supposed to be about the farm and farmer not petty prom queen meets PTA mom brownie bake-off competition, right?

Support whichever market suits your fancy and is convenient to you.  Or be like myself and some of my friends – we patronize different markets so we can follow our favorite farms – it is super convenient to say go find your farm on a Saturday if you miss them at a market another day of the week.

I would also encourage all of you to show your support for the mama of all the markets – the West Chester Growers Market! No one wants them going anywhere and the Borough of West Chester should let them be where they are!