Getting in touch with my roots

Harvesting root vegetables holds the same breathless anticipation for me as unwrapping presents on Christmas morning. When I approach the veggie bed filled with sleek beet greens or frilly carrot tops, I have no idea what bounty is concealed below the surface. It's with trembling fingers that I coax the earth away from the bases of the greens in the hopes of catching a glimpse of just enough exposed vegetable to determine its readiness for harvest. And then, as I take hold of the tops and pull, I can revel in the satisfying sound of a bright, bulbous vegetable releasing itself from the earth! Oh the satisfaction of this experience is one that remains virtually unmatched throughout the rest of the harvest.

I love beets. My hubby introduced me to them recently, as he was reminiscing about some of his favorite dishes his grandmother used to make. We often prepare them as a side dish by removing all but about 2 inches of the green tops and boiling them for 30 minutes. When they are soft, we drain the water and slip the skins off. Then a quick slice and we toss them back in the pan with the greens, some butter and garlic salt and saute. When the greens are wilted, the beets are done! Even the kids love them this way.

This year, I thought I'd try pickling them as well. I've never really eaten pickled beets, except one surprising time when I selected them at a salad bar thinking they were slices of gelled cranberry sauce. Imagine my shock at learning they were beets! So, with very little experience with what they should taste like, I pressed the hubby for details. Are they spicy? sweet? syrupy? vinegar-y? He was no help. So off I went to research it online and I found this good old fashioned recipe and pickled up 3 jars.

 They smelled divine when I added the brine, and the color is truly gorgeous. I'll let you know about their flavor in a few weeks when I crack the seal!

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