Sew Crazy Dog Lady

On First and Last Batches of Goodness

Last year, I started canning things. Mostly because we joined a CSA for the first time and we would never have been able to eat all of those veggies and fruits! In the process, I discovered the joy of “puttin’ up” food. I bought a canner from Walmart and tons of jars. With the overabundance of pears, apples, plums, brussel sprouts and tomatillos, I had snacks, and salsa and jam to last all winter. But the one thing I had an ungodly amount of?

Beets.

In New York State, beets are harvested from June to November and because they are a root veggie, they can be stored in a root cellar, making them available for 9 months out of the year.

Normally, ew. I don’t care for beets.. but that changed.
I don’t have a pressure canner, which is the only safe way to can low acid veggies like beets, unless you pickle them.

And pickle them I did. I pickled a TON of beets. Last week, I realized… this was all that was left from that bountiful beet season.

Pickled Beets

That’s it.. one 1/2 jar. And my local farmers market doesn’t have beets yet. **whine**

I have, however starting putting things up.

So far:

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam: this is a soft set, no pectin jam. From The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round

Rose Petal Jelly
Rose Petal Jelly from Herbal Treasures which is evidently out of print. I also adapted this recipe and didn’t add the petals back in and processed for 10 minutes.

Lemon Balm Jelly
Lemon Balm Jelly. I got this recipe on the Harvest Forum but doubled the lemon balm. Lemon Balm is great for stress, by the way.

Preserves And on the right there is the Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate. That is going fast already.. Probably won’t manage to take any to the August Summer Training Camp if we keep drinking it at this rate. I may have to put up some more! That recipe is from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

I had a request for my recipe for the pickled beets. It’s also from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving but I used the “Sweet and Sour” version and used apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. (ok to do as long as it’s 5% concentration)

Sweet and Sour Pickled Beets
adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Makes about 6 pint jars

10 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks about 4 inches long, broken
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
10 cups Prepared Beets.

(Tip: prepare beets by scrubbing and boiling until just tender. Peel and Slice. Wear gloves.. really, unless you enjoy having pink hands. For more info buy the book. You’ll use it.. trust me)

Put the spices in a spice bag (or do what I do and just toss them in there.. I take the extra step to strain them)
Combine sugar, vinegar, water and spices in a large saucepan. Boil to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and boil for 15 minutes.
Remove spices.
Add beets and return to a boil. (This is the hot pack method)
Using a slotted spoon, ladle beets into hot jars within 1/2 inch of top. Ladle hot liquid into jar leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Process in a Boiling Water Bath for 30 minutes.

In writing this out, I’m assuming you have the basic knowledge of canning; how to prepare the lids, sterilize your equipment etc.

If not, here are some great resources:
Garden Web Harvest Forum
Fresh Preserving
National Center for Home Preservation
Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving
Ball Blue Book

2 Responses to “On First and Last Batches of Goodness”

  1. Heather says:

    I’ve planted way too many tomatoes this year so I’m going to have to learn to can or face wave after wave of rotting veggies.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I was reading that they do wonderfully for sauce if you freeze them. Canning Tomatoes can be a bit labor intensive, which I don’t mind, really. You have to peel them first. “Easiest” way to peel them is to cut a small X in the skin and blanch them. Then the peel comes right off. Mostly.