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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A particularly sunny smile


When you want to serve pickled beets for dinner and there are beets in the garden, one thing can lead to another.

Risa went out and picked about half the year's beets, a mixed lot of Chioggia and Detroit Dark Red, and "strangled" them, i.e. wrung off the leaves, which she tossed over the fence to the chickens, and brought the roots in to wash.

She's finally got a saucepan, a really big one that kind of resembles a wok, which she knows will make seven pints of canning contents if filled to within an inch or so of the top.

So she cut up the beets, along with an onion, and threw in some honey and some homemade vinegar and spices, right up to the rim of the pot almost, and set it all to simmer while lifting more potatoes and weeding in the greenhouse. Later, she got out the smaller of the two water-bath canners and swapped it onto the burner that was cooking the beets, then filled seven jars from the pot, lidded, ringed and labeled them (she just writes on the lid -- "BEETS 11/11" in this case), set them in the water bath, and there in the bottom of the pot were the pickled beets she wanted to serve with dinner.

She'll rinse the pan, pour out the rinse into the compost bucket, and set it aside to wash, then take the jars off the boil, set them out to cool, and use the hot water from the canner to wash some dishes. Oh, and stop to take a portrait of the jars: pickled beets have a particularly sunny smile, she finds.

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