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Beeting the heat at the farmette

It's a sunny day at the farmette. Everything is soaked after yesterday's monsoon-like rain. We got almost 40 millimetres, or an inch and a half of water in the gauge. Also got our first tornado warning. Yikes.

At least we're not experiencing the floods they're getting in Europe or the wildfires out west. Along with the pandemic still chugging along and actually escalating among the unvaccinated in the U.S. and U.K., it kinda feels like end of days in some respects.

Even in all the turmoil, life goes bumping along at the farmette. Vegetables ripen, flowers bloom and canning must commence. So yesterday was pickled beet day.

I'm really quite chuffed at how they turned out this year. Beets are kind of a no-brainer to grow, and they're always the first on the list for 'doing down' as my mother used to say.

I actually pulled them on Friday evening, knowing that the torrents were coming to town on Saturday. Chopped the tops to a couple of inches above the root and settled them into a pail for the night.

Pickling day is quite the production. Many, many bowls and pots and pans and water, oh, my.

Actually, it's more like a military operation - not a lightening strike, more like a slow-moving manoeuver, but when you don't have a lot of space to move around in, you have to be strategic.

So, the seven pounds of beets were scrubbed and went into the cold water - smaller ones in one pot, and bigger ones in a second because they cook more slowly. We brought them to a boil for about 30 and 40 minutes (the recipe says 15 - pshaw!!)

Our brine is a simple one - just vinegar, sugar, salt and water from boiling the beets. You can do fancy - with onions or cinnamon or other exotics - but we like the old-fashioned ones, and so do all our friends and family.

Next, it's slipping the skins, tails and tops off the still-piping-hot lovely purple orbs (my job, cause I can take the heat), and cutting the bigger bits into bite-sized pieces that will fit into jars and eventually, human mouths. That's Rob's job.

This picture kinda reminds me of the Kraft recipe commercials you'd see during Disney episodes on Sunday nights in the seventies, no?

After sterilizing six pint-sized jars, we packed the pieces into them, popped in a couple of cloves per jar and added enough brine to not-quite fill them to the top.

Then, it was a matter of placing the lids, twisting the rings and processing the filled pints. Ten minutes in a boiling bath and voila! We have wonderfully tasty pickles to enjoy and share for months to come.

As we go through the next weeks and months, it will be nice to start going out, visiting and laughing in person with friends and family. I was lucky enough to have lunch on the Walker House patio in Southampton last week with friends Art and Karen. My first time doing that in about a year and a half.

It's also pretty cool to be able to stay home and be productive making food for the winter on those rainy days when we're stuck inside.

Until next week.


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