Canning season has opened again, at least as far as fresh produce is concerned. I was in canning heaven the other night canning beets for the first time. I just can't describe the peace that I feel when I'm canning. I often think of my grandma Fran. She was a canner, even though I had no idea what was going on at the time she was doing it, since I was probably five. But, now that I can myself, I have realized what the smell of dill in her kitchen was all about.
The cooking of the beets took longer than I anticipated. I was feeling generous, so I let Annalee stay up and help me. She was very curious to see what it looked like to take off the beet skin. Heck, I was curious since I'd never done it before. I kept reading 'slip the skin off' and 'cook the beets until the skin slips.' And, then, we figured it out. This outer layer on the beets gets soft, cracks and just falls off. It was pretty cool to see and feel. Annalee couldn't wait for me to finish cooking the beets, so I let her sample a beet dipped in the brine. She declared that canning them ourselves is 'so much better than store-bought beets. We should do this all the time!' I continued with my work long after she went to bed - I finally finished around midnight. Maybe I'll start earlier in the day next time.
We had to wait a few days to open our first jar, to let all the flavors gel. OMG, did they gel! Annalee, Zelda and I nearly polished off an entire pint jar within a few minutes tonight.
Too bad that five bunches of beets doesn't go very far. I only managed to get four pints from them. I'm thinking the next time I do beets - in the upcoming few weeks - I'll just do a bushel. And, I'll pack them in quart jars. Hmmmmm, maybe I should think about two bushels....
UPDATE: Annalee came in the office just as I was posting this. She smacked her lips at the picture of the beets and asked,'I can't wait for you to make more because I can't resist beets!'
2 weeks ago