day 3: beet, beet, sugar beet … sugar beet, beet, beet (pickle)!

The holiday season brings all sorts of traditions out in full affect. Things that we forget about every other day throughout the entire year. Then, like clockwork, the smells and memories come flooding back like a typhoon. Today is no different. Amidst the ornaments, pine needles, and holiday cards from days of old there’s the memory of my grandmother’s beet pickle.

I remember going away to college, being far away from my loved ones and friends, all the while thinking of her kitchen. Her infamous back room lined with the fruits of the season in those ever-so familiar mason jars. Green beans, apples, chow-chow (southern relish for everything) and my FAVORITE pickled beets.

As we age, it’s our responsibility to carry on these moments to the next crew of folks … be it kids, in-laws, extended family, friends who are your family and beyond. So, when my mother and my aunt took the time to learn to make these delicious pantry treats … well, let’s simply say I jumped on the opportunity to learn on my own. I’m sharing with you today. *Please remember this gracious gift when you’re out shopping and someone steals your parking spot.

And for you 80’s kids, with your throwbacks … ah, the memories!

Gran's Beet Pickle courtesy of Mom

Gran’s Beet Pickle courtesy of Mom

What you’ll need:

  • 2 bunches of fresh beets (6 medium sized)
  • latex disposable gloves (beets stain EVERYTHING – don’t try to cheat on this one)
  • 2 cups of quality apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1.5 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 bay leaves (one for each jar)
  • 2 wide mouth mason jars

What you’ll do:

  1. Put on gloves
  2. Peel and rinse beets
  3. Cut beets into halves then into 1/4 inch slices
  4. Bring all ingredients to rapid boil, reduce heat to medium and allow to continue gently boiling until beets are slightly tender.
  5. Transfer beets into jars and cover with brine (pickling liquid – and yes, you’ll have extra. Save it, we’re using it tomorrow).
  6. Seal ’em up! And allow to cool to room temperature. This will preserve the pickle.
  7. Thank my mother for sharing her altered version of my grandmother’s recipe profusely
  8. Enjoy!

*Note: Pickled beets are delicious on salads, in the company of charcuterie platters, a side for your simple country ham sandwiches, by themselves or with slow cooked beans!

**Further note: The brine described about is a wonderful way to pickle just about ANYTHING (don’t forget, I’m a Southern gal).

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