What to do with those beets!

Planting beets has become somewhat of a tradition here at our house. For the past three years now I have enjoyed success with growing beets and because of this it was only natural that I would plant them again this year. The trouble with this is the pantry is already full of canned and pickled beets. Not that they’ll go bad or anything, but there is only so much space in the pantry and beets have taken up their allotment.

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Yesterdays Beet Harvest

In the past I’ve done four things with the beets we’ve harvested from the garden:

  1. Pickled Beets
  2. Canned Beets
  3. Beet Jelly
  4. And the last is Beet-Horseradish Relish which I made last year for the first time.

I posted the recipe for the Beet-Horseradish Relish on Simply Grateful Canning if you’d like to check it out.

Besides making the relish I also decided to try and make the most of the beet greens. We aren’t too big on eating a big variety of greens around here, but when I read I could freeze them and use them to make stock I figured what’s the worst thing that could happen? I’d end up throwing out a batch of stock if it didn’t taste good. The only precaution I read was that the beet greens would probably turn the stock reddish or brownish depending on what kind of stock you were making. No worries, I can deal with that and if it gives the stock another dimension of flavor, well that’s just an added bonus on top of the added nutrients.

The process for freezing beet greens is posted on Simply Grateful Canning Making The Most Of Your Beets, if you’re interested.

I plan on planting another crop in August for the fall. Why? I’m not really sure, but when I’ve had as difficult a time in the garden as I have had this year, I need a little gardening success. I might can them or perhaps I’ll just give them to the neighbors. Either way they won’t go to waste, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Does anyone have other ideas for canning or using beets?

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Beet You Can’t Guess What This Jelly’s Made With

This morning I started the day by canning the beets I picked earlier in the week.  While I was cooking them, I remembered a recipe I’d seen on the internet for beet jelly.  There were no reviews for the recipe but I thought it might be fun to try.  So after I boiled the beets, I reserved some of the water and assembled the remaining ingredients.

As I mixed the beet water/juice, sugar, and lemon juice, all I could smell was the beet.  Now, I love beets to a point, but to be honest, the smell of beets cooking in the morning is not something I can say is wonderful.  Still, I wanted — tried to keep an open mind.  How bad could this be after all?

Before adding the Clear Jel, I decided that I should taste some of the jelly.  Why waste the Clear Jel if this was going to turn out terrible.  I spooned a little onto a plate and waited for it to cool.  Dipping my finger into the liquid I tasted it.

So what did it taste like?  Beets!  Now, I’m not sure if it was because all I could smell was beets and all I kept thinking about were beets, but all I could taste were beets.  I was discouraged.  Again, though I kept trying to tell myself to keep an open mind.  Maybe it was all in my head.  Maybe there was something to this supposed great new way to use a by-product of boiled beets.  So I added the Clear Jel and finished the jelly.

By the time the jars were filled and in the canner, the kitchen stopped smelling like beets.  I scraped the last of the jelly into a small bowl and put it in the fridge, hoping that when it cooled down, it would taste like something other than beets and waited.  When the jelly came out of the canner, I noted several things.

  1. The jelly was a very pretty color.
  2. The consistency was perfect.
  3. This was a very easy jelly to make.

I was trying really hard to be positive.

It’s now been seven hours since I made the jelly and finally I got up enough nerve to try it again.  It was cold and sweet and to be honest, I can’t tell what it tastes like.  I think there is a slight beet aftertaste, but I can’t be certain that it’s not just my mind playing tricks on me.  I’ll have to have hubby give it a try to give me an unbiased, untainted opinion.  I won’t tell him what it is until after he tells me what he thinks.

For now, I would love it if someone, anyone would try this recipe to get their opinion.  I cut the recipe in half so I wouldn’t waste too much sugar or Clear Jel.  This yielded three 8 oz. jars and one 4 oz. jar.

Beet Jelly

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  • 2 Cups Beet Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 3 Cups Sugar
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. Clear Jel mixed in 1/2 Cup water or 1/2 package powdered pectin

Beet Juice:  Boil beets in just enough water to cover.  Once beets are tender, strain out beets and measure juice.

Combine beet juice, lemon juice, and sugar.  Bring to boil.  Add Clear Jel slurry and bring to boil for 1 minute more.

Ladle into hot jars and process in water bath for 10 minutes.

I love to try new things, even if they don’t always turn out the way I’d like them to.  For now I’m going to have to let this one sit for a while before the final verdict is in, but it is going to make an interesting conversation topic, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.