Thursday, September 10, 2015

Putting Food By - Pickled Beets, Roasted Tomato Sauce and Cured Green Tomatoes too.

There are lots of things I'll miss when summer is over, including the fresh produce from farm stands, farmers' markets and my backyard garden. But you can capture the goodness of some of that produce to enjoy during the cold winter months in many different ways - canning and freezing, and even fermenting, as you'll see in the last photo of this post.

These pickled beets are so much better than what's available in the stores and they don't take long to prepare. You can choose to put the jars in a hot water bath and store them for months in your pantry (follow directions here), or if that's too much trouble, just prepare the beets, put them in jars and store them in your refrigerator.

As you can see, I used both purple beets and yellow beets. I don't think the yellow beets are as flavorful as the purple ones, but it's nice to make a few jars just to add a different color to your dinner plate.

With the purple beets, I like to take some of the juice and make purple pickled eggs. I grew up in an area of Pennsylvania where these pickled eggs were a common sight among the Pennsylvania Dutch community, and my Northern Italian mom picked up the idea of making them from them. Many a picnic basket included these when I was a young girl.

Just boil hardboiled eggs and drop them into the pickling juice after you've taken out some of the beets. Leave them in for about an hour or two to get a nice color.


I've even left them in the jar overnight, but the egg whites have a tendency to get a little rubbery if you leave them in any longer.

 One of my favorite ways to eat them is for breakfast or lunch with avocado toast.

They make colorful deviled eggs too.

And if you've got too many tomatoes and not enough ideas or time to figure out what to do with them, try roasting them whole. Just core the tomatoes, plunk some garlic and herbs inside (I used fresh oregano and basil), sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place in a foil-lined cookie sheet and roast in a 400 degree over for about a half hour to 45 minutes.

 I left these in for nearly an hour and the liquid reduced considerably.

Put the roasted tomatoes in the blender or food processor and whir it all together until everything is smooth. Since I had forgotten to take these out of the oven after 1/2 hour, the sauce turned out thicker than I had planned, closer to tomato paste.

I poured the thick sauce into freezer containers and will be able to use these in recipes all winter long.

And for those tomatoes that just don't ripen, try making cured, or fermented green tomatoes, as my family's been doing for generations. They're dynamite in sandwiches, or just with a crusty piece of Italian bread. I posted them on my blog years ago, but each September, I get requests for them, so I thought I'd remind readers of how to make them. Click here for directions.


Ciao Chow Linda is also on Instagram, as well as Facebook and Pinterest. Click here to connect with me on Facebook, here for my Pinterest page, and here for my Instagram page to see more of what I'm cooking up each day.

Pickled Beets

about 3 lbs. beets

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

1 cinnamon stick

1 large onion, optional

Cook the beets in boiling water until you can just pierce them. It's best if you slightly undercook them since they'll be heated again after you place them into jars. Let them cool, then peel and cut into large slices. Slice the onion.

On high heat, dissolve the sugar into the water, then add the vinegar and cinnamon stick. Lower the heat to medium and add the sliced beets and onion slices. Let them simmer for just a couple of minutes, then pack the beets into sterilized jars, topping with liquid.

If preserving for the pantry, process in a boiling water bath for about 15 minutes.  Otherwise, store the canned beets in the refrigerator.

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