Pickled beet memories

Even though I grew up surrounded by California’s wondrous bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, my mother did not like to cook and thanked the Blessed Virgin Mary every day for packages and cans. And, of course, she was witness to the Miracle of Swanson TV Dinners.

I don’t think I tasted a fresh peach until high school. Potatoes were powdered out of a box or the small white ones out of a can. Believe it or not, when I joined the Army shortly after high school, I considered the mess hall fine dining.

Back in the day, Mom frequently served canned pickled beets. A lot of people say yuk to beets, but I loved them! Now I buy beets fresh at the store or the farmer’s market and pickle them myself. But it’s kind of a pain in the rear. Today I had the brilliant idea of making them in the Instant Pot.

The grocery store usually sells beets in little bundles of three. I actually wanted yellow beets, but I didn’t like the looks of them so went with red. Gave them a good rinse in the sink and then peeled and diced them raw. I would guess it was about two cups, which I tossed into the pot.

I checked several references for cook time and liquids and found inspiration at Plant Based Instant Pot. I decided on 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.  Tossed that in the pot and added a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, a few allspice berries and one tablespoon of maple syrup.

Popped on the lid. Made sure the pressure valve was closed and pressed manual, high pressure for five minutes. It didn’t take long for the pot to come to pressure, so I’d say less than 10 minutes all together. When the timer went off, I very carefully released the pressure manually.

They’re in the fridge now, but I taste-tested, and they are delicious! Next time I might add a bit of sliced Maui onion. Maybe a Bay Leaf.

Yesterday was whole roast chicken with Dale’s Maine-style potato stuffing and steamed baby broccoli. We’re going with chicken sandwiches on sourdough for dinner tonight , so I thought some sort of dark red or green vegetable would be good on the side. I’ve been craving beets.

What a perfect use for the Instant Pot. I wonder what else we can pickle the same way. Ginger? Carrots?

By the way, I’m not completely dissing canned vegetables. You have to pick and choose. Beets and corn seem to survive nicely. To me, the worst canned vegetable is asparagus. But I bet you somebody out there has a happy canned asparagus memory, and they eat it to this day.

2 thoughts on “Pickled beet memories”

  1. I am a fan of beets. The pickled beet recipe I use originated with my paternal grandma. First, scrub the beets then put them to boil until fork tender in a pot. Allow to cool, then peel (much easier than peeling raw beets), The prepared beets are then sliced or cut into chunks and topped with a brine of 4C water, 1C sugar, 1C vinegar. The hot brine is poured over beets in prepared jars and the canning lids will seal. I also enjoy beets roasted, boiled, sauteed.

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