Thursday, August 02, 2012

gardening

The kids and I have been gardening again this summer. We have two small beds of veggies at home and we have a bigger garden at our friends' place out in the country, just like last year. It is oh-so-satisfying to grow your own veggies and then eat them for dinner the very same day. YUM! My kids are becoming good little gardeners/workers, too, which is an added bonus! They have been helping every step of the way: from planting, weeding, and harvesting, to eating.
This was one days' harvest: 25 cucumbers!, a few onions, beets, zucchini (only 2, hurray!) and several peppers.

So, what do you do with 25 cucumbers? Make pickles, of course. My sister passed this recipe on to me last year, which I've tweaked to my liking. They are so quick and easy to make. And so good, too!

Dill Refrigerator Pickles

In a 5 quart container (an ice cream bucket works well), place 4 heads of dill and 1 onion, sliced, in the bottom.
Slice (or cut into spears) enough cucumbers to fill the container. Set aside.

For the brine:
1/2 teaspoon alum
1 quart water
1 3/4 cups white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2  head garlic, slice each piece in half
1/3 cup canning salt
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/3 cup sugar

Mix brine ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat through. Pour over cucumbers and refrigerate.
Let pickles set for 24 hours before eating.

I've heard that they will keep in the refrigerator until Christmas, but we've never had them last that long. I've got a few too many pickle fans in the house for that to happen. :)
I grew beets again this year, even though I've never been a big fan. My husband likes them, (pickled) and I've always wanted to like them (mainly because they are such a great color!) but I never acquired a taste. Just last week my other sister offered me some 'non-pickled' beets (boiled and then served with a touch of butter and salt and pepper)...and you know what? They are soooo good! My kids love them, too! As crazy as it sounds, they taste kind of like sweet corn. Now, I'm trying to figure out how I've gone 37 years without trying boiled beets?! It seems pretty crazy to me! Oh well. I guess now I know. :)

69 comments:

Malmbergs said...

Try roasting your beets. Wrap them in foil like you would a baked potato, bake in the oven, and when done, the skin peels off easily and then season them with butter, salt and pepper. Yummy!

Mary P said...

Agree on the roasting your beets. It makes them taste like candy. I've never even needed to season mine. As for cucumbers, I just started making cucumber lime popsicles. It is super easy--water, sugar, lime, and a peeled cucumber in the blender. Pour into popsicle molds. YUM.

roxi said...

I wish I could have the beet leaves. My family tradition is to make "cabbage" rolls, but instead of cabbage, roll the rice in the beet greens and bake in cream. To die for! Wish I had garden space just for the beet leaves.

Marina said...

Try boiling the beets with the skin, because it preserves their lovely color and it´s easier to peel it off later. Slice them and put some salt, vinegar, oil and a little of "salsa golf" (it´s an argetinian sauce made of mayonese and ketchup). Yummy, yummy!! =)

ircabbit said...

Too funny... I read and thought "I must tell her to try roasted beets!" I guess that's what everyone else has thought, too. I'm with you on hating pickled beets... my grandma used to prepare them either boiled or pickled and my hopes would go up when I saw beets on the table, only to be dashed when I found they were pickled.

Alternative to foil... cut them like potato wedges and roast them in a 9x13. Make sure you cook beets until they are super soft. Roasting candies the sugars in the beets, just like yams.

Gisela Suski said...

Beets are new to me also, I wrap them in foil with oil and garlic and roasted them quite along time but yummy yummy and slice in a salad.

Needle little Balance said...

No beets for me, thank you! But I like to feed them (raw) to our cavies, who love beets and look like little wooly vampires after they ate them, with red snouts and noses. :-)

Susie at ProsperityStuff said...

Awesome! The part about beets makes me smile - because I've never been a fan of pickled beets, either. I'd never even heard of trying non-pickled ones until a few years ago. A friend with a garden insisted that I HAD to try regular beets, cooked and buttered. You're right: there's no comparison - they're delicious that way!

Live a Colorful Life said...

I LOVE beets. I have never tried them roasted but that is on my to-do list. Cucumbers, on the other hand, is at the top of my most-hated food. Weird, huh? I passed that distaste (hehe) on to my son. I always find people's food likes and dislikes fascinating.

Leah said...

We have a CSA this year and beets have been coming on strong this past month. We've been grilling them because we hate to turn the oven on in the summer. we cut them thick, spray olive oil on them and sprinkle some pepper on them and then toss them on the grill! They are tasty and I too am not a fan of the pickled variety! When the winter months are upon us I"ll have to try the roasted versions listed above!

Gra said...

Marina is right. Boil them with the skin and peel them when you are ready to eat them. At home we had them in salad once they are cold. Slices of beets, some onion, maybe shreded hard boiled egg. A bit of oil, salt, vinegar or lemon and sooo good and fresh!!!!! Mayonese if you like it, too!

Suzanne said...

I love everything in your harvest and the beets, well, those I'd fight you for. :)

Angela said...

I was going to suggest roasting the beets as well, but I see lots of people beat me to it. We think that they resemble sweet corn in flavor too - which is strange because as a kid I was convinced they tasted only like dirt.

Julia said...

Try them roasted -- a little S&P, sprinkle a little oil and wrap in foil. Throw them on the grill and roast (time depends on how small you cut the pieces and how big your foil wrap is (if you have a lot, make two foil pouches) Tastes like Sugar! Amazing!

Lisa H. said...

I've never tried beets as an adult. My sister grows them in her garden and can't believe that I won't eat them. Maybe I need to try roasting one? We've had a bumper crop of banana peppers and roma tomatoes this year. It's hard to keep up with the bounty!

Joyful Saint said...

I craved them when I was pregnant. Their earthy taste satisfied the Pica cravings I was having. They were really effective at helping with my iron levels. Love beets.

1stteacher said...

I'm glad your kids like 'em too. Goes to show that it's good to give foods another chance (or a first chance) every once in a while.

If you don't want to turn on the oven to roast the beets, roast them in the slow cooker:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/546692-how-to-roast-beets-in-a-crock-pot-with-aluminum-foil/
(that's an article written under my pen name)

Anonymous said...

Love all the comments, there is only one use for beets that has been left out.
Raw, grated beets added to a chocolate cake make the most moist, delicious, yummy chocolate cake that keeps really well.
There a quite a few recipes for this on google, I usually just add a good sized grated beet to my usual choc cake recipe.
Raw grated beets with onion, garlic, and a tasty dressing makes a great salad too.
Marie from Western Australia.

Kim said...

I've got some roasting right now and they smell divine...I even eat them cold the next day dipped in ranch dressing. I never ate them either before I started volunteer gardening and was taught to roast them! Now I'm going to try your way too..give them a little boil.

Happy Gardening

Sally said...

Best beets eats: after boiling (or otherwise cooking) slice them keep them in the fridge to put on cream cheese bagels! It's crazy good, and the cream cheese turns the loveliest shade of pink!

Becky said...

Yea for the garden! I just picked 4 cucumbers out of ours :-). Have you tried Tzatziki sauce? YUM! I also like a cucumber Thai salad recipe that I found on the Food Network website. We go through lots of refrigerator pickles too! Never have been too fond of beets though, pickled, roasted, boiled or any other way. Same's true with Kale... blech!

Mariel said...

I was never a big fan of beets either until my hubby cooked some and then added sour cream and dill when they were done. Serve them warm. They are wonderful! (if you like sour cream and dill weed, that is)

sewfrench.com said...

I roasted 2 large bundles of baby beets, from the farmer's market, yesterday. Tossed last night's leftovers in tonight's salad, cold. Yum!

Cara said...

Roast them in the oven at 425-degrees, peeled, cubed and drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. They get soft and sweet and caramelized. Delicious!

Anonymous said...

We always bake our beets just like a baked potato. They are so good that way. I could eat them every day. You have quite a haul of veggies there.

Amy

Kate said...

One more suggestion for the beets! :) I just started liking them myself two years ago - roast them as everyone has been saying, then chop and add to a spinach or lettuce salad with some toasted walnuts and - this is the most important part! - some soft goat cheese (chevre)!!!!

The goat cheese and beet flavor combination is out-of-this-world amazing!!

Enjoy all your veggies!!

Nicci P said...

I have got some great ideas for beets here. Thanks everyone! I love mine roasted on a hot oven with EVOO and s&p. I will have to try them boiled and also the beet rolls, too!
For those who like their pickled beets, I always make my pickled eggs at the same time. Just throw a few hard boiled eggs into the pickled beet juice for about 24 hours, and you're good to go. They are great alone, with just a touch of salt, & on salads, too!

Brenda in Manitoba said...

Nobody has mentioned Borscht (soup) in the comments. Grate peeled raw beets, mix with equal amount of grated cabbage and some chopped onion. Simmer in beef broth til cooked. As much broth as you want - whether you want a lot of a little veggies in your soup bowl. Then it needs to be soured - either sour salt, vinegar or lemon juice. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. We always stir the sour cream into the individual bowls. Our kids' friend came to the door one day at lunchtime and said "euh! purple soup", but she left as a convert!

Thimbleanna said...

I LOVE beets! I haven't been brave enough to pull mine out of the ground yet -- this is my first year growing them. Guess I should go check on them!

Rachel said...

Great haul! Sorry, never met a beet I didn't like...LOL

Mama Pea said...

Well, I've always liked the idea of gardening but could never acquire the taste for it. I just do not enjoy it! Though I enjoy some of the spoils from a garden...but not the typical vegetables. I'd rather have the squash, pumpkin, rhubarb, etc. never cared much for tomatoes, lettuce, celery, etc. :-)

Cheryl Arkison said...

Like everybody else said, try roasting the beets. I do a big batch every two weeks or so. Then you can eat them on their own or tossed with salad. Or even as a side for scrambled eggs with goat cheese. The Monster can't get enough beets.

Jess said...

Goat cheese + roasted beets = heaven!

amy dame said...

i'm so jealous of your beets, and your refrigerator pickles!

i had a salad in montreal a million years ago with beets in it, and i've been completely obsessed ever since, i take it to every picnic i go to.

boil the beets, then once they're cool slide the skins off and chop them. cut up as many green apples as you did beets, leaving the skin on. toss with a bit of balsamic, feta cheese and some pumpkin or sunflower seeds. SO GOOD! the beets are sweet, while the apples are a bit tart, and then the feta and seeds add a bit of saltiness. plus, the beets will turn the apple flesh pink, and combined with the green skin and the white feta, it's gorgeous.

daiseyjayne said...

I love beets, anyway at all! Thanks for the pickle recipe, gonna give it a try.

Tricia said...

beets aren't my gave either, but my csa has also been hammering us with them, moreso at the beginning of the summer. mostly, I would just roast them, cut in small pieces, with a little olive oil and salt. makes them taste so much better than pickled, etc.

what I liked better was the beet greens, which taste a lot like chard or spinach. my favorite thing to do with them was to make a crustless quiche, or just sauté the greens with a little garlic and butter or olive oil, and serve as a side dish.

Lynda said...

Here in Australia a salad isn't a salad if there is no Beethoven. Whe roasting them, pour some balsamic vinegar into the foil pouch. Delicious.

upstateLisa said...

My grandmother used to serve canned beets cold! So gross. But homegrown beets, halved and grilled are delicious !!!!

Tamara said...

Pickled beets remind me of my mother, other than quilts, that is probably the next best association i have with her memory (pretty crazy right?) the canned ones don't cut it but i recently discovered a local restaurant has them on their salad bar that taste just like mom made them! I sit there and eat pickled beets till i could pop!

Anonymous said...

our whole family loves beets. We saute the young greens. We eat them roasted and pickled (although we rely on Grandma to pickle them) and we also eat them raw shredded in salads.
The Moosewood Collective's Simple Suppers cookbook has a raw beet salad that's to die for!
Lisa

Anonymous said...

not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but beets also make a very interesting oven fry.

Karin said...

Yay for beets with butter!!! MMMMMM good stuff!!!!!!!!

MellieWo said...

Sounds delicious!

soyee said...

What a lovely harvest!
May I suggest beetroot ánd cucumber? Cook, cool and peel beetroot. Wash and grate cucumber and beetroot. Add some radish and chopped onion. For the dressing use olive oil and vinegar; season to taste. Enjoy!

Grey Cat said...

Since you're just falling in love with beets, I highly recommend yellow beets! They're delicious roasted with some sea salt and pepper.

Julierose said...

Dear Amanda Jean--I just got your book from Amazon--I have one word for you and your co-author Cheryl--"FANTASTIC"!! I usually get a quilt book and find one or two projects I like inside; I LOVE all of yours and am trying to decide which one to do first. But, I really, really love your "Sunday Morning" low value project. Thank you so much for a terrific book. Julierose

Anonymous said...

Boiled beets are the only way I have ever had them. I do agree they taste like sweet corn and a bit like dirt...LOL

LaRon and jNae said...

Pickled beets are the BOMB! Roasting is also a delicious way to cook them. Here's a quick tip for boiling them to be able to peel them to pickle - in your pressure cooker - 11 minutes and they are done! and ready to peel!! Just go easy when you release the steam - purple juice sprays EVERYWHERE!

QuiltChick said...

AJ~ also just got your book from JoAnn's. Thought you couldn't outdo all the quilts on your blog, but I was wrong! Really lovely. As for beets~ good luck! The pickles sound great though. My garden was so sad this year, a couple tomatoes and one zucchini. So sad :(

Cindy said...

Just had to share - my first birthday present this year from a dear friend - Sunday Morning Quilts. SO EXCITED!!! Thanks for sharing with us.

iiSwanSongii said...

My mother makes red beet eggs. You might want to find a recipe for that. They give the eggs such a sweet amazing flavor.

CitricSugar said...

I'm with your hubby - pickled beets are fantastic, and a favourite! But they also go great in soup - borscht for example - and thinly sliced raw in salads. I've come across some really interesting beet recipes online, too. Everything from burgers to cake.

Anonymous said...

My mom used rain water when she would make her cucumber pickles,and they always turned out great. C

JG said...

Beets are so good and contain fiber! We enjoy their sweet taste without butter or anything extra. These days are too hot to heat the oven, so I've been boiling them after cleaning under cold water. It's great how the skins just slip off after boiling. There's a post on my blog about Beets!

Enjoy your gardens!
~Judy

JennX said...

I 'discovered' Golden Beets a few years back- you must try them too!! Even sweeter than the usual red ones and less earthy tasting AND they don't stain anything pink!! Hard to find as a grown crop but if you've got all that garden space then seeds are easy enough to find.

Ina said...

I love fresh beets!! They are so good in a salad. ;p

tusen said...

If you like the taste of horseradish you could also try this: boil the beets with the skin, peel and grate them, add a bit of lemon juice (or vinegar) and some grated horseradish. Add a bit of salt and sugar. In my home town they also add caraway seeds.

Andrea said...

A pile of raw grated beets on a salad, beside a pile of raw grated carrots....so pretty! and so yummy!

Margaret said...

Try the beets oven roasted on 425 for 30-40 minutes (just olive oil, salt and pepper) - very yummy.

Mary Ellen said...

In Germany there are often shredded raw beets on the dinner salads. Also shredded carrots. Raw beets are sweet, much like carrots. If you have a food processor with a grating disk, try grating the beets raw and tossing them in salads. Wouldn't suggest grating by hand because of the red mess it makes on your hands, etc.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

A quick funny-had an Asian family to dinner one evening and served roasted yellow and red beets, cut into tiny cubes and seasoned with a smidgy of olive oil, salt and fresh-ground pepper. The mom tasted them and promptly asked, "What are beets made of? These are great!" She loved the idea that they had come to dinner in their natural form. (not a pickled fan here either--such different flavors from a single veg!)

cakegirl said...

Just saw the first comment and it is exactly what I was going to suggest. I never tasted a beet until about 4 hrs ago and I'm 61!!! same with fennel...roast that too. Absolutely delicious!

Random Thoughts Tracy said...

Just wanted to let you know that Juki should be paying you commission! I just purchased a TL2010Q! I'm so excited and a bit scared...i've been quilting on a janome that is half the speed...this Juki girl is FAST!

Marci said...

Wow! These pickles are absolutely the best! So quick and easy to make that as soon I my DH tasted them, he said "Better than Claussen!" & "They won't last until Christmas". Thanks so much for passing along the great recipe!

PS I love beets--pickled or plain!

Michelle said...

We made your pickles Sunday night and bit into them yesterday - they are wonderful! Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

we love beets,no one mentioned Harvard Beets
heat beets take juice add sugar to taste add butter @ corn starch to thicken or use orange juice not juice and no one will know these are beets my family likes them this way Alice

Frank Clarivu said...

These recipes are great. I made some pickles last week. Since I retired I love cooking - I should have started earlier!

Kristy fordhook1 said...

I pickled a batched of spicy beets from Ball's Blue Book this summer, first time I canned beets, (super easy). Yesterday I made your dill pickles, they are great!! Thank you for posting the recipe!!

Rachel said...

I roast beets too, but I cut them up in slices, toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper, spread them on a sheet oan and roast at 400 until they are a little crispy on the thin edge... like potato wedges or oven fries, but pink and sweet and delicious!