How to prepare to Pickle beets, part 1

August 2, 2009
My sister and I are pickling the beets tommarrow. We have never done this before but I started reading the directions and recipes and decided to go ahead with the prep work. Good thing I did, it took me 5 hours on my feet to get the beets prepared.

The photo above is after I had picked, trimmed and washed them. I filled up a 5 gallon bucket with all the beets. My grandmother (whom is in her 80's) did make a point of calling me to let me know that if I left a bit of the stems on and the root tail that they wouldn't bleed. I would have to say that maybe they wouldn't bleed so much, because they were still on the messy side.

After scrubbing all the dirt off, I blanched them in boiling salted water. Now, this is not like blanching a tomato or green beans...nonono. These things have to be boiled anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes before the skins will come off easily. Of course, it took me a few batches to figure that out. The first few batches were of the larger beets and I didn't blanch them long enough so then I had to figure out a different way to skin the buggers, I tried a veggie peeler, a small knife, even used a pair of the potato skinning gloves. It was frustrating because, while the skins were holding on for dear life, the beets were like trying to hold onto a bar of wet soap. Finally, I figured out that I needed to blanch them a bit longer and then after a brief dunk in an ice water bath (dont let them get too cool) the skins would come off easily under running water.

After blanching and skinning, I sorted them by size (as you can see, they were bleeding all over the place.)

Finally, I fully cooked them in my new electric Pressure cooker (not to be confused with my Pressure canner). I love my Cuisinart Pressure Cooker. I had purchased it with some of my garage sale bootie. A bit off topic here, but I have to say that if you can get one of these go for it. BUT, buy the Cuisinart (I got mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond). I had previously owned 2 others that were purchased off of QVC. The first one had to be sent back after about 9 months of use, and the second one died shortly after the warrantly expired. I had problems with both all along.

Back to the subject at hand. I cooked the beets in the Pressure cooker for about 15 minutes per batch and at this point I had 3 batches.

Meanwhile, while I was preparing the beets, the air-conditioner died on us. We didn't even realize it until later in the evening because we had left to attend a wedding. When we got back, the house was hotter then it was outside, and my poor dear sweet sister-in-law who was watching Colby for us, and Colby as well, were dying from the heat. Best I can figure is it went out sometime between 4 and 5 in the afternoon. You can imagine how tortureous sleeping last night was. Then, when I got up this morning the heater was on and I had a hard time getting it to shut off. I ended up calling the repair guy out and long story short (yeah, too late I know) $628.00 later we can live in our house again.

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