Friday, February 23, 2007

Ole Fashion Pickled Beets

Ole Fashion Pickled Beets
Dorcas Annette Walker

This month I’ve used recipes with red foods. For the last week I’ve chosen pickled beets that can be used as a salad. I usually can pickled red beets during the summer to store in my pantry. For those of you who don’t have pickled beets on hand I’ve broken down my pickled beet recipe using store-bought canned red beets that is quick and easy to make. A family favorite is adding hard boiled eggs to the pickled beets. Every time my sister and I make up red beet eggs we are reminded of our mother and her colored eggs.

Like I’ve said before our mother didn’t do a lot of cooking as we grew up due to working fulltime to keep our family going. Once in a great while my mother would make up pickled beets with hard-boiled eggs as something special. One Easter she decided to make up pickled beets and eggs as a secret to go along with the Easter dinner. My sister and I were thrilled. My father’s background was Mennonite and we were raised very strict about observing holidays. No Christmas trees or Easter egg hunts were allowed in our home. I’ll never forget the look of triumph as my mother brought the dish of pickled beets and eggs to the table with a flourish to crown our simple meal and set it down before my father. He took one look and sternly asked, “What is this?” My mother looked surprised and replied, “Why pickled beets and eggs, dear.” My father frowned and pointed an accusing finger at the dish. “We don’t believe in coloring eggs for Easter. How worldly can you get?” In trying to make our Easter dinner festive, my mother had done the unthinkable. She had colored eggs! My father refused to eat the colored eggs and wouldn’t touch the pickled beets. Even today, years later with my father gone, every time I go to eat a pickled egg I remember my mother’s colored eggs.

The garden red beet is one of the most important vegetables due to its high fiber including riboflavin, iron, vitamins A, and C. Wisconsin, New York, and Texas are primary beet producing states, although beets are grown extensively from Michigan to Idaho and out in California. Beets are grown during the cooler months to yield dark red roots and is used as crop rotation. While the red beet is mostly grown for its fleshly root both the foliage and roots of the red beet are edible. Four distinct types of beets are grown. The leaf beet, known as Swiss chard, with its leafy green tops are highly nutritious. The mangel-wurzel red beet is a succulent feed for livestock. The root is used as fodder in Europe and Canada. The foliage is also used as feed. The sugar beet with selective breeding provides about one third of the world’s commercial sugar production. The extracted beet sucrose, dissolved in water, is refined and granulated- much like sugar cane- to make sugar.

Ole Fashion Pickled Beets

Place in glass bowl:
2 cans of red beets with juice
Microwave for two minutes or until dissolved:
1 c sugar
1 c vinegar (white or dark)
Add to red beets and stir. Mix in:
¼ tsp cloves
For colorful red beet eggs add peeled, hard-boiled eggs to pickled beets. Cover and chill for a couple of hours before serving. My Ole Fashion Pickled Beets recipe takes around five minutes to prepare and this recipe serves six.

Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: or htpp:// for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.

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