|Pickled Beets and Cherry Bounce.|
My great grandmother used to make pickled beets and they never fail to make me think of summer meals, family gatherings, and, well, eggs. She always used to slip a peeled boiled egg in. It would turn a pretty shade of pinkish purple, and sliced up it looked nice on salads (and tasted great, too).
I'll include her recipe for beets below. I modified it just a bit to fit the number of beets I had, but you can adjust as needed simply by making more or less syrup according to the number of beets you have. Here are the quantities I used:
Great Grandma's Pickled Beets
makes 10 pints
9 lbs. medium to small beets, rinsed clean
5 c. cider vinegar
5 c. sugar
5 c. water
4 tsp. pickling spices
3 tsp. pickling salt
Cut leaves off beets, leaving about an inch of the stems and the root intact. Cover with water, bring to a boil. I let them boil for about 25 minutes. You can check them at about 15-20 minutes and see if they're tender, and go longer if needed. Drain, then soak in cold water until beets are cool enough to handle. Slip peels from beets, and cut off stem end and root. You can leave beets whole, or slice them, depending on your preference.
Mix up the syrup by combining the remaining ingredients in a large pot, and bring it to a boil. I like to add my sliced beets and let them boil in the syrup for a few minutes to heat them through. Fill hot, sterilized jars with beets, add syrup leaving 1/2 inch headspace, add lids, adjust bands, and process in hot water bath 30 minutes (adjust for altitude if needed).
Oh--and in case you're wondering what Cherry Bounce is.... Here's a link to a recipe, though it's slightly different than the one I used, it's a very nice blog from Boulder. Pretty much the same idea, just a variation on the theme.
About 6 cups of fresh tart cherries (best if left unpitted, but will still work if they are already pitted. The pits are said to lend a little bit of an almond flavor.)
3 c. sugar or sucanat
a bottle of vodka (or bourbon or rum, or....).
3 1-quart jars with lids and rings
Place 2 c. cherries in each jar. Add one cup sugar to each jar. Fill each jar the rest of the way with the libation of your choice. (Optional: Add a little almond extract to each jar for a slight almond flavor if your cherries are pitted). Top with lid and rings, tighten well. Shake jars. I shook each jar a few times each day until all the sugar had completely dissolved. Then place in a cool, dark place to age for about three months. We'll plan to keep these jars for Christmas, to open a little taste of summer in the depth of winter. And I've been told you can make a very nice sauce for ice cream out of those tipsy, well-preserved cherries. I'll let you know how that turns out....