Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Quick Ginger Pickled Beets

Bowl of Ginger Pickled Beets
Ruby Red Pickles

Recipe by Recipes from the Root Cellar

Our garden is getting more complicated and time consuming this year. In addition to the new raised beds and the usual containers, I just put in a few winter squash hills and have alpine strawberries and sunflowers to plant. But in spite of all of this springtime effort, we’re  still awaiting the majority of our harvest. Meanwhile we're finishing up our wintery root veggies like beets. Here’s a simple recipe from my new favorite cookbook, Recipes from the Root Cellar. Unlike the Polish-style beets and other hot-dressed beets I’ve blogged about, this recipe is served cool, and is more of a true pickle than a side dish, but with an unexpected pop of ginger.

Pot of Onions & pickling juice boiling, near pot of beets cooling
Cook up Brine while Beets Cool
Since the original recipe was written for winter, I’ve chosen some spring-ier options. Instead of oven-roasting the beets, simmer them on the stove (or toss them on the BBQ if you’re adventurous). I’ve reduced the sugar from ½ cup, and you could try reducing it to ¼ cup if you like. The original recipe suggests eating these at room temperature, but you might prefer them chilled, as we did, during warmer weather. 

Note that these beets are called “quick” as compared with classic pickled beets, which are preserved and sealed for long-term storage using a time-consuming jar-in-the-boiling-water-bath method for sterilization. These quick beets dispense with the canning operation, but they do need to marinate overnight in the fridge to develop their intended flavor.

Closeup of Pickled Beets showing beet-colored onion
Pickles: Beets and Onions
Quick Ginger Pickled Beets
serves 4 – 6

4 – 6 medium beets,  ¾ - 1 lb.
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
~6 tbsp. evaporated cane juice (sugar)
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup thinly sliced onion (~1 medium)

Scrub the beets and trim the tops and roots. Place beets in pot of water and bring to a boil. Let simmer till beets are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 30 – 50 minutes, depending upon the size. Let beets cool in their cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, stir together vinegar, water, sugar, salt, chopped crystallized ginger, and sliced onion in non-reactive (stainless steel or enamel) saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer about 10 minutes, till slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Pour liquid into a large bowl and let cool.

Peel beets when cool enough to handle. Cut into slices or wedges. Stir beets gently into marinade to coat. Cover and let chill overnight in refrigerator.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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