Saturday, November 6, 2010

Save the Pickled Beets!

Sometimes, but not so much lately, I worry about foods disappearing.  I know, some foods should disappear, like fried liver and doorstop fruitcakes.  But you know what I mean:  You're savoring a lovely slice of spicy pickled beet and suddenly, without warning, you think, "What if people stopped eating beets?  And farmers stopped growing beets?  And there would be no more pickled beets!"

I'm not saying everyone has episodes of food paranoia like me, but in case the whole worrying-about-food-disappearing thing is due to the cosmic resonance of some underlying potential universal truth, now and again I like to make, and enjoy, pickled beets. And if you do it, too, maybe we'll keep pickled beets alive!

This recipe is easily increased for more beets, and all the ingredients can be played around with according to your taste.  

About 4 medium-sized beets, or 6 smaller ones, either red, gold, striped, or a mix
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 or 2 tablespoons agave nectar or organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon horseradish
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
A few grinds of black pepper

Wash the beets and either trim the stalks off or leave an inch or so on.  Lay beets in a Pyrex baking dish, add a quarter inch or so of water, cover the dish with foil, and roast the beets at 350 degrees for an hour or so.  If beets are varying sizes, some may need to be removed before others are done.  Beets should be tender when pierced with a knife.

Alternatively, wrap the beets in aluminum foil and roast for the same amount of time.

Cool the beets, rub the peelings off (a paper towel works nicely for this) and slice them.  Toss them into a jar.  You can have the vinegar and spice mixture already in the jar, or you can toss it in on top of the beets and shake gently.  Store in fridge, turning and tossing jar gently now and then to keep the beets coated in the pickly mixture.  Enjoy without fear.

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