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The First Summer Harvest

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Hi, HAPPY Summer!  I realize that I haven’t been as good about blogging lately as I normally am.  I have a lot on my plate and I thought I would share what I’ve been up to – just in case you’ve been wondering where I am.

My vegetable garden is incredible this year and canning season has started already – it’s about 3-4 weeks early this year.

Thursday afternoon, after work, I went down to check things out and discovered that many of the beets needed to be picked and turned into pickled beets.

the beets are out of controlRight click to enlarge image

Right click to enlarge image

Friday afternoon, I took off early and headed for the garden.  I picked about half of the row which resulted in filling a 20 gallon cooler and half of a 5 gallon bucket.

Saturday morning, I broke out the trust canners (and some other huge stock pots) and set about the task of cooking and slicing the beets

the trusty cannerRight click on image to enlarge it

Right click on image to enlarge it

After they were all sliced, the canner was just about 2/3 full of wonder beets!

sliced beetsRight click on the image to enlarge

Next, I dragged out the biggest stockpot that I own and make the brine.

the brine potthe brine

The result – 16 lovely quarts of pickled beets on a 90+ degree day on Saturday with no air conditioning (because we usually don’t need it here in Vermont)!

After that was done, it was time to pick the first of the cucumbers, blueberries, and the raspberries – on yes, and cut the rhubarb before it went by.

All in all, not a bad first harvest of the year 🙂

the harvest
For any of you who would like to make pickled beets (on a smaller scale of 4 pints), here is the recipe, and I swear they are the best pickled beets ever!

Spicy Pickled Beets

4 lbs beets

3 cups thinly sliced onions

2 1/2 cups cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups water

1 tsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 tblsp mustard seed

1 tsp whole allspice

1 tsp whole cloves

3 sticks cinnamon, broken

Wash and drain beets. Leave 2″ of stems and tap roots. Cover with boiling water and cook until tender. Remove peel, trim ends, slice. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes. Add beets and cook until hot throughout. Remove cinnamon sticks. Pack hot beets into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace, ladle hot pickling liquid over beats, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process 30 minutes for pints (40 minutes for quarts) in a boiling-water canner. Yield 4 pints.


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