Thursday, March 18, 2010

We've Got the Beet

Do you know what red beet eggs are? Here's a clue:

In addition to the glorious fruit I bought last summer, I bought 10 lbs of beets. Why? Well, Hubby Dear loves to have salad for lunch everyday, and also loves pickled beets as a salad topping. Since I am trying to eat more "local" food year-round, making my own pickled beets seemed like a good idea (and one that would assuage my guilt at packing his grown-in-California-and-shipped-across-the-country-salad for lunch every day. Yes, I want greenhouses; no, I don't have them yet).

I'll post the recipe if anyone really wants it (but who would that be? Does anyone besides MY Hubby Dear truly LIKE pickled beets??) but the jist of it was as follows: roast beets. Make tremendous mess that permanently stains hands whilst peeling beets. Prepare brine with vinegar and salt and a few other flavorings. Choke on fumes of simmering vinegar, then quarter beets, add to hot canning jars and fill with vaporous hot brine. Process in a boiling water bath in the heat of August while you question your sanity over the decision to revive home canning as a domestic pursuit ( if the hour of roasting at 400 F doesn't get you, the boiling cauldron of water for processing will).

I bought 10 lbs of beets because my recipe said that 10-12 lbs would give me 6 pints of pickled product. Not true...just half of the beets filled up 6 jars on their own. I had to to do the whole thing over again, ending up with 11 pints and change. That, my friends, is a lot of pickled beets.

There is a bright side, well actually two bright sides. The first is that I did, in fact, accomplish my goal: hubby has been happliy eating locally grown, organic beets on his salads all winter long. The other bright side is that some small part of my brain recalled that my mother used to make red beet eggs. I don't know exactly how she did it, but every so often a jar would appear in our refrigerator which contained a few hardboiled eggs and a slice or two of cooked beets.

I decided to try "repurposing" the vinegar brine from the pickled beets to make red beet eggs. It worked out great...after I finsih up a jar of beets, I add as many hard boiled eggs as will fit into the jar (usually just 3-4 eggs). I let them sit in the fridge for a few days, and them...the eggs shrink slightly in size (due to water loss in the salty brine?) and turn a glorious, shocking pink color (see photo above). They also taste great - the vinegar is not overpowering, the salt is just right. Sliced up, the pickled red beet eggs are also great on a salad. And, as I've just discovered tonight, they make a great snack when a martini has made you feel peckish.


Kate said...

I have always loved pickled beets. This appears to be a love that cannot be passed down through genetics or marriage, at least in this household.

Best post title ever.

Anonymous said...

Pretty! Perfect for Easter, too. I love the color.