What did you do last night?

Last night, I took on the adventure of pickling some beets, thinking that it all seemed pretty easy and straightforward…shouldn’t take too long (cursed).

The process begins with preparing the beets:

A mess of beets

A mess of beets

Boiling beets

Boiling beets

A good scrubbing under some cold water. What I neglected to read was that these guys had to be boiled for 20-40 minutes…ok. I’ve time. So, let’s boil them.

Meanwhile, I made my pickling liquid. I had to have onions in the mix.

Pickling liquid

Pickling liquid

Once the beets were soft, I drained them and rinsed them under cold, running water per Ball’s Book of Canning’s instructions…and “slipped the skins”…which I hadn’t done before, but after boiling beets, just running your fingers over the exterior beet causes the skins to “slip” right off. Very easy! Then I sliced instead of quartered.

Ready to pickle!!

Ready to pickle!!

Such pretty colors! Golden, Red Ace, Merlin and Chioggia beets.

The sliced beets got added to the pickling liquid and brought to a boil. Then hot jars were packed with beets and liquid (some got whole cloves per another recipe) then processed.

After processing, the jars were allowed to cool. Here’s the line up:

Good morning pickled beets!

Good morning pickled beets!

So, my hour and a half long project really was more like 3 1/2 to 4 hours long. Such is how it goes when I think something will be “easy.” Honestly, though, it WAS easy and fun….and delicious (I sampled a few pieces while packing the jars)….I just need to be sure to read the sidebars to recipes for better time estimations! 🙂

Pickled Jalapenos

Well, the tomatoes may have been crappy this season, but our hot pepper crops (jalapeno, serrano, Santa Fe peppers) were fantastic. Very little salsa was made…so what to do with all of these hot peppers?

In addition to batches going in and through the dehydrator, I found this recipe online. Thanks to my mom’s help, several cans have been put away for future enjoyment. This recipe is easy and the results are delicious! I’ve added any variations or comments in parenthesis.

Pickled Jalapenos

Recipe courtesy Sean Timberlake, founder of Punk Domestics, a site for DIY food enthusiasts

Prep Time: 35 min

Inactive Prep Time: 12 hr 0 min

Cook Time: 12 hr 45 min

Level: Intermediate

Servings: Two pints


1 lb jalapeno peppers (I didn’t really measure; I also added in serrano and/or Santa Fe peppers)

2 c. white vinegar (5-percent acidity)

2 c. filtered water

2 Tbsp pickling salt (4 Tbsp kosher salt – this is what I used)

2 cloves garlic (optional – I absolutely used!)

1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns (optional – I used)

1 Tbsp honey or sugar (optional – I used honey)


Prepare the jars and lids:

Wash all jars (I used half pint jars) and lids thoroughly with soap and water and rinse well. Fill your canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch and bring to a simmer. Using a pair of canning tongs, lower the jars in gently, tilting them to fill with the hot water. In a small saucepan, keep some water warm but not boiling; place the lids in the water. Have an additional kettle of water on to boil.

Prepare the brine:

Add vinegar, water, salt and – if using – garlic (yes), peppercorns (yes) and honey (yes) to a medium saucepan (pan needs to be big enough to accommodate the peppers later) and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to keep at a simmer.

Prepare the jalapenos:

Wearing latex or plastic gloves, slice the jalapenos into 1/4-inch rings (we also did some batches with diced peppers). Add the rings (diced pieces) to the brine and bring back to the boil.

Fill and close the jars:

Using canning tongs (I bought a canning kit that came with tongs, a magnet for retrieving lids/rings, a funnel and a spatula for removing air and measuring headspace), remove the jars from the canner, carefully pouring the water back into the canner. Set the hot jars next to the jalapenos in the saucepan (I had a rack with a baking sheet underneath it. I set the hot jars on the rack because you never want to put hot jars directly on a cold surface. The baking sheet caught any drips.). Turn the heat under the canner to high. Use a ladle to pour the jalapenos into the jars through a canning funnel, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top. Run a clean chopstick (or spatula, just has to be a non-metal tool) around the inside of the jar to dislodge any trapped air. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place the lids on, and screw on the rings until just finger-tight.

Seal the jars:

Using canning tongs, gently transfer the jars to the canner, taking care to keep them vertical. When all the jars are in the canner, there should be at least 1 inch water covering them; if you need more, add water from the kettle until the jars are sufficiently covered. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, and process for 5 minutes.

Remove and cool:

Using canning tongs, gently remove the jars from the canner and transfer them to a kitchen towel or cooling rack (I used the rack atop a baking sheet), again keeping them vertical. Do not set hot jars directly on to cool counter surfaces. Leave to cool, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours. If any of the jars do not seal when cool, reprocess using the method above, or refrigerate and use immediately.

Label and store:

Add a label to the lid or side of your jar, noting the date it was canned. Remove the rings and store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_656221_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html?oc=linkback