Pickling: Part II

14 09 2009
Left To Right: Chioggia Beets, Golden Beets, Mixed Colored Carrots

Left To Right: Chioggia Beets, Golden Beets, Mixed Colored Carrots

So with the ease of pickling last week the sous chef was gung ho for more pickling. She was not at the market with me so it was up to me to make important cooking decisions.  The first decision I made was we were only going to cook 1 or 2 dinners this week and with our usual 3rd cooking night dedicated to pickling things.  So I picked up a bag of colored carrots, a bunch of chioggia beets, a bunch of golden beets, a few handfuls of wax and green beans, and 8 more pickling cukes.  At the market it seemed like a great idea but when I got home to the internet I quickly got overwhelmed! 

Why? Because I kept falling into canning instead of pickling.  Turns out one of the goals this year has been to cook what is there. Not focusing on preserving or anything past leftovers.  Eating seasonally and actually using the food.  The problem with pickling is that it very easily crosses the line into canning and preserving.  Nothing is wrong with this except time dedication and recipe locating.  I’ve canned before (200 lbs of apples once) and I enjoy it but it wasn’t what I was trying to get myself into, nor the sous chef.  After a bit I finally came back full circle and realized what I wanted to do was focusing on the pickling itself and proper canning was secondary. In fact I really just wanted to do “quick pickling” where the pickled products get eaten within a month of them being done.  Also, I already knew I was focusing on small batch preserving. 

Now onto recipe  selection. 1/2 the beets was easy. The Scandinavian Cookbook had a recipe for beets so that would do for the “red” beets.  As for the golden beets I wanted to try a different brine and I found one online I planned to use.  And I found of for carrots that also looked good. And finally I settled on doing the cukes and the beans with the same brine.  Tonights goal was just both beets and the carrots!

We went shopping and got all the spices, etc we needed and realized I didn’t really have enough pots to: 1) boil the jars, 2) boil golden beets, 3) boil red beets, and 4) make brine. I have 3 pots, not 4. We decided to get one more from the sous chef’s house but she forgot her keys.  So instead we realized we could pre-cook the beets by steaming them in my roommate’s steamer.  Since we only had 1 bunch of each (3 beets each for a total of 6) we peeled them and put them in the steamer for around 40 minutes probably?  Which worked out great because we could combine them in a single cooking place and not have the red ones taint the golden ones. 

So while I was talking on the phone the sous chef picked up the lead and cut up the carrots and got the carrot brine and the Scandinavian Cookbook brine all mixed up and ready to go.  By the time I got off the phone the jars were ready to go and we packed the carrots in and topped it with the brine.  We almost forgot the garlic and so its a little on the out of the water side.  We will just flip the jars daily for a bit and hope it works out :) Oh the carrot brine recipe!!! Here it is! 

Now onto the beets.  First we did the chioggia beets which have lovely rings of red and white alternating when they are sliced crosswise.  Amazingly enough all 3 beets fit into one jar no problem and we used 1/2 of the Scandinavian Beet Brine to pour over it.  At this point we decided to forgo the golden beet brine and just use the rest of the red beet brine.  We filled them up and then put the lids on.  The best part of the beets? The floating anise on the top before we closed them:

Star Anise Floating

Star Anise Floating -- Doesn't the chioggia beets look like watermelon here?

In the end we got 1 jar of each of the beets and 2 jars of carrots. A perfect amount for small batch quick pickling.   For now that is all we know and the beets take a week, the carrots a few days. Until then enjoy my dry post about part II of pickling and look forward to part III! Oh in case you were wondering… this is the recipe I was going to use for the golden beets.

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