Adventures in pickling

August 7, 2010

It’s only August but it’s starting to feel distinctly Autumnal outside already. I’m definitely hoping for some more of the glorious sunshine we were treated to a month ago, but for the last two weeks it’s been dreary and dull.

The thoughts of Autumn had me thinking of preserving some of the veg from the garden. While I’ve grown beetroot before — in pots up on the balcony at my old flat — this is our first year with a garden, so I never had the luxury of “too many” veggies to worry about before. We’ve had a couple of meals from the beetroot already (we made the warm mackerel & beetroot salad again that I wrote about last year since it was so nice) and so I decided to have a go at pickling the rest.

I have no idea how to expect them to turn out, and I seem to have used a jar which is a little too large for the quantities I used, but seeing as it was all judged rather than measured, I think it’s not too bad a job! Here’s what I did:

I sterilised the jar in the oven at 140°C for 15 minutes and boiled the rubber ring. I cooked the beetroots by boiling them for 20 minutes — didn’t want them to be too soft. At the same time I brought some white wine vinegar to the boil with a few whole cloves, a couple of bay leaves, a cinnamon stick and a few peppercorns mixed in. When that had boiled I added a little sugar and mixed it in until it had dissolved. Then I skinned the beets while they were still hot, chopped them and put them into the hot jar, and strained the vinegar liquid over the top. I guess that now it’s just a case of waiting. I’m not sure how long to wait – a few weeks? Hopefully it will be okay that the jar isn’t completely full, as my understanding is that the produce keeps better with less air in the jar. I doubt it will be a problem though; I don’t envisage them lasting all that long. They smell far too yummy!


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