Pickled Pink

My younger daughter went across the street today with her best friend to “look for berries.” They returned, wide-eyed, giggly and secretive, towing an enormous beet behind them. They told me not to look because they were going to “surprise” me and they proceeded to hose the dirt clods off the giant root, soaking half the patio in the process. Then my darling brought it in the house, held it aloft with dripping leaves splayed, and demanded of me whether I could “pickle it by lunchtime.”

My little one is smitten with the pickled beets she finds in her school cafeteria salad bar. I couldn’t find them at my local grocery store, where they are considered a “seasonal item.” What season that is, I don’t know. I should have continued the search but I got distracted and now she has had to take matters into her own hands by digging up enormous tubers from the neighbor’s yard.  I doubt that the neighbors mind since beets are the one crop – if you don’t count fireweed and slugs –  guaranteed to grow in abundance here every year.

Well I couldn’t make the deadline, but I did steam it, slice it and plop it in the jar of pickle juice that is always, always in the top of my fridge. It isn’t always the SAME jar of pickle juice – I toss the old one and rotate in a fresh jar when we finish all the pickles – but there is always a jar of pickle juice in my fridge or my name is not Marycake. My husband has been asking for a long time (14 years this August) why I do this.  Well Eaters, as you can see, this is why. My jar is now full of beet slices that will, we hope, dutifully soak up the Trader Joe’s brine. And my far-away BFF, Jesse, loves to drink pickle juice, so keeping the jar handy is like putting cookies out for Santa.  Because you just never know.

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Though I can’t pickle a beet by lunch time, I have made some quick pickles in the past; I like their freshness and bright color.  Try these:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Crunchy-Sake-Pickles-51117470 but do increase the liquid to vegetable ratio.

I hope to post more often now.  I have gobs of time on my hands since my children took to foraging their own meals from the neighbor’s yard.

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