As you may know if you got a chance to read my earlier post “Spicy Bok Choi with Sausage” my wife Jen and I “signed-up” for a boxed CSA share with our own farm. Sure we could get produce literally out of our back yard anytime, but we wanted to experience the CSA veggie eating thing from the same perspective as everyone else, so we pick-up a box share each week (out of our walk-in cooler, this part seems a bit like cheating)
Over the last few weeks the beets have been piling up in the fridge – they keep so use the other stuff first is the logic we’ve been using – and now it’s time to find something to do with them. We really wanted to make a refrigerator pickle, and the online recipes seemed lacking. Fortunately, Jen went to culinary school and has tons of great cookbooks, plus she’s a wiz at spotting a great recipe. We found a really simple recipe in David Chang’s Momofuku recipe book. It starts with a very basic mixture of water, rice vinegar, salt and sugar. From there you add beets and you’re done. But wait, uncooked beets? Yep that’s what the recipe said. Honestly, I thought that a bit far out. But Jen, schooled to respect the master chef thought we should try it. So, we did it both ways.
I quartered three large beets – all from one bunch, boiled and peeled them and then sliced them into nice thick slices. Jen took the beets from another bunch peeled them with a vegetable peeler and sliced them super thin. We also, took some of the small onions we’ve been getting in our share and cut them into thin slices. We each got a wide mouth quart jar and packed them with our beets, layered with the onions. Then we poured the pickling mixture over the beets put the lids on the jars and stuck them in the refrigerator. They are supposed to be best after a week, but I tried both the next day – and they are both delicious – and very different from each other. The recipe for the pickling mix is simple enough to try it both ways. Here it is:
For each quart jar:
1 cup warm as it will come out of the tap water
½ cup rice vinegar (white wine vinegar could be substituted)
6 Tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons salt
Dissolve sugar and salt in the warm water, add vinegar, and pour over beets. Can be eaten the next day or “cured” for up to a week in the fridge before serving.
We’ll check back with an update when it’s been a week to let you know how our pickles cured.
August 1st Update: So, here’s how they turned out: In short they were both delicious! I was very surprised at how good the raw pickled beets were, very crunchy and flavorful. The cooked ones were not as crunchy, but sweeter and ready to eat the next day. Very good.
July 2013 Update: We now have a recipe for Easy Pickled Turnips that uses the same liquid base as these delicious pickled beets.