WOOOOWEEEE! –this will clear the ol sinus’!

beetsI’ve been blessed to have my parents from NY stay with me during their transition period into an assisted living facility near my home.  As we wait for an apartment to open up, they have spent every major holiday with my family and I starting w/ Thanksgiving 2014.  How lucky am I as they are from NY and I haven’t spent many holidays with them over the years as I live here in MN.

In prep for the upcoming Easter holiday, my Mom taught me how to make the traditional Polish side relish of horseradish and beets.  We had a wonderful warm day yesterday and luckily so…as you want to have really good ventilation when making this.  We make it a few weeks before Easter so it pickles and the flavors intensify over the course of time in the refrigerator.

This recipe made about 10 half-pint jars.  Exact measurements aren’t used.  It’s more about taste.

4 bunches of beets (tops removed, keep tails and skin on)

Fresh_Ground_Horseradish

Separate by size (large in one pot, small in the other).  Cover with cold water, bring to boil, and when skins start to remove easily with the side of a fork, remove from heat and drain in colander.  Let cool, then peel skins and grate with hand grater into large bowl.  Add one 8 oz. jar of grated natural horseradish.  The brand I use is made by Silver Spring Foods out of Wisconsin.  See picture.  This, by far, is the hottest, tastiest jarred horseradish I have ever found.  Add white vinegar – ¼ cup or so and salt.  Mix everything together.  Taste – and if you need more of anything, then add it.  Pack in glass jars and refrigerate.  About a week after it’s been refrigerated, taste and see if you need to add more vinegar or not.  It will last about a month or so refrigerated.

I have seen a lot of recipes that add sugar, you can if you want.  But using fresh beets vs. canned beets makes this sweet enough.

Enjoy – and Happy Easter – Wesołych Świąt!

Peter Piper Would Pick These Pickles!

This summer I grew one – yes one – cucumber plant.  The first picking I haulepickle1d in 30 cukes off of it.  It was not a Kirby or pickling cuke plant, but a salad cuke that produces very few seeds in the cucumber and a nice thin outer skin.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t keep the plastic thingy that came with it saying exactly what type of plant it was.  I’m thinking it was somehow related to the English cucumber family.  They all average around 12 inches and are somewhat slender.  Knowing that I had to do something with them quick, I poked around on the internet and found this wonderful refrigerator pickle recipe from Cooking Light.  They turned out absolutely tasty and get better and the days go on.  I followed the recipe verbatim except I doubled the brine because it didn’t produce enough liquid to cover the cucumbers.  I also added sliced red bell pepper – because I really like them pickled, too and made it taste like my Mom’s bread and butter recipe.  It is a really easy recipe – I did three batches in one evening.  After three days of them sit in the fridge, I transferred to pint jars.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 6      cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
  • 2      cups thinly sliced onion
  • 2      cups thinly sliced red, yellow or orange sweet bell pepper*

Brine* (doubled from original recipe)

  • 3      cups white vinegar
  • 1 ½  cup sugar
  • 1 ½  teaspoon salt
  • 1      teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1      teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1      teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1      teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8      garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Preparation

Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion and 1 cup of bell pepper. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion and 1 cup of bell pepper.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days. At this point, you can keep in the bowl you have them in or transfer to pint jars.pickle2

Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Kathleen Kanen, Cooking Light
AUGUST 2007

*My addition/change