The hot days of July are upon us so it’s time to harvest the root crops planted in early spring. that are still in the ground. We said good-bye to the radishes several weeks ago after the first heat wave of the summer. Warm temperatures cause radishes to bolt and become woody in texture. They will be planted at the end of summer for a fall harvest. The first planting of Japanese turnips have been harvested and now it’s time to harvest the rest of the beets.The”life cycle” of our beet consumption began with very small thinnings we add raw to our salads. The second thinning produces slightly larger leaves the size of spinach that are sautéed in olive oil with a little garlic and red pepper flakes for a wonderful side dish. Baby beets are sliced as thinly as possible or julienned and added to green salads.The Chiogga beets look pretty in salads, a slice looks like a candy cane bulls-eye and the Golden beets bring a pop of bright yellow.
I love beets, especially pickled ones. I have canned pickled beets in past summers for long storage, this year I thought I would make refrigerator pickles. Quick pickled baby beets couldn’t be simpler to make. These refrigerator pickles require very little prep and they are ready to eat after a few hours in the brine. Divide your beets by colors or they will bleed into each other. The brine is a touch sweet with a little spice. These pickles will last for several months in the refrigerator.
Quick Pickled Baby Beets
Makes 2 pint jars
- 1 lb baby beets, separated into colors
- 1 c white wine vinegar
- 2 t kosher salt
- ½ c sugar
- 2 T honey
- Fresh ginger slices
- 1 t coriander seed
- 1 t black peppercorns
- Wash beets well, trim off the leaves and leave about an inch of stem on the beets. Separate beets into colors if you don’t want them to bleed into each other.
- Bring a medium pan of water to a boil. You can put all the beets of one variety in the pan, start checking the smaller beets at the two minute mark. Beets should be easily pricked with the tip of a knife, larger beets will take a few more minutes.
- Drain beets well in a colander. Place in a heat proof container like a canning jar, separating out the varieties.
- Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, honey and spices and bring to a boil. Pour the hot canning liquid over the beets and set aside to cool. Once cool, store in the refrigerator.