Monday, July 19, 2010

Pickled Beets and A Funny Story

Two years ago, at an autumn home school Back to School party, a friend of mine brought some home canned pickled beets.  Man, were they ever tasty.  So, the next spring, we planted a whole row of beets...which failed.  Yeah....they didn't come up...  well, maybe a couple of them did.... but they only poked their little heads through the soil... nothing else.  It was a complete failure.   Our soil is very rocky and red clay....perhaps they just needed more water and wiggle room.
This spring, we decided to try again.  We only planted a few in some raised garden boxes.  Failure number two.  I think we planted those too late.  Beets are a cold weather've got to plant them early in the spring or late summer.  
A couple of weeks ago, a family friend asked me if I wanted a basket of still my beating heart.  I was so excited! 
So, I call up my canning master friend and got her recipe...  easy as pie.  You wash the beets, put them in a big pot and boil them till tender.  You then take them out, pull the skins off ...which will make your hands (especially your nails) a beautiful shade of magenta if you don't use gloves....I know this from experience...  :)
After sliding the skins off, you cut them into chunks, put them into a big pot, cover with 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water and add sugar.  She said she thought they used 2-3 cups of sugar per gallon.  You have to taste as you go...see how you like it..  :D  Bring that mixture to a boil and ladle into your jars that are hot.  Wipe the rims, put your hot lid on, screw on the top!  Voila!  Pickled beets.  You don't even process these.  Crazy easy, huh?  And let me tell you...they are soooo good.  Another cool can use the leftover brine to make pickled eggs. {This was actually my introduction to pickled eggs.}  You just put a few hard boiled, shelled eggs into a jar and pour the brine over them...let it sit about a week and you have pickled eggs!  Another idea that can't be "beet" ~ ahem, sorry....veggie humor.... the water that you boil your beets in till tender...well, I was thinking that would make an eye-catching tie-dyed shirt... too bad I didn't have any white t-shirts that day....

Okay...funny story... well, funny in an embarrassing way....
Those first beets I ate at the home school party??  Well, I only got a few bites.  My sense of propriety kept me from going to the table and taking the entire jar back to my seat...which is what I *really* wanted to do.  So, I mentioned to the bringer of the beets later how good they were and how much I just loved them.  Sweet person that she is, she brought me a quart jar to our next meeting.

Soooo, after the meeting, I go home with MY OWN JAR OF PICKLED BEETS....propriety be gone!!!  Unable to stop myself, I ate a half a quart of pickled beets ....yeah, they were that good. 
Next morning I wake up and go about my day.  It was then that I began to notice something. shall I put this delicately?  Well, I thought I was getting a urinary tract infection...  it was really weird fever, no pain....just {I can't believe I'm telling you this} pink in the potty.  Oh dear...I've now lost all sense of propriety...   Anyway, I was very concerned.  I had previously had a UTI... not pretty.  I woke up one night burning up with a fever..  I hated to wake up my husband since he has to get up early to go to work, so I decided I'd go get some fever reducing medicine myself...  I felt a bit woozy while standing at the sink taking the medicine and had to hold on to the counter for a few minutes before I could walk back to the bedroom.  I got all the way to the little hall right before the bedroom door, before I started passing out..  So, as I'm sliding down the wall, I managed to weakly call for my husband...  thankfully, he wasn't sleeping as soundly as he did all those months when the babies cried at night ... hmmm...but that's another story... LOL
Anyway, he caught me before I hit the floor and well...  anyway, back to my previous story...
So, I was concerned.  Magenta hands and nails are kinda cool...peeing magenta is not.  {Blush}  I drank lots of water and prayed that I wasn't getting a UTI.  However, by nightfall, things had "cleared" up, so to speak...  :)  I was ecstatic!!  I had succeeded in flushing out the UTI!!  YES!
The next evening, I found myself alone again with the remaining 1/2 quart of pickled beets.  Mmmmm...sooo tasty...I slowly savored every last one.
The next day I woke up and OMGOSH!!  Magenta ~ and not on my hands and nails.  I was so darn perplexed.  I mean, you can't have a UTI one go away for a day..and then just come back, can you?!?!?  And no fever!! How crazy is that???  Fear was starting to set in...I could even imagine that I felt some pain...and maybe I had a bit of a fever, too...  heck, I should probably already be on meds. 
And then ..epiphany!  Magenta.  Where had I seen magenta?  Ah, yes...the beets..and on my hands and nails...and then in the ...well, you know...  bathroom.  (Actually, my husband *might* have made this connection first....but only because I was really sick with a UTI...wait, I didn't actually have a UTI...well, I thought I did).. Oh man, I didn't have a UTI.  Which was good news.  Bad news was the amusement this gave my canning buddy...  :D  So, just so you know, in the future, when you can your beets and savor every bite...  when you wake up seeing magenta, you're okay...  :D

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