A tradition of gardening runs in the family
Being a locavore isn't new. This writer's family has been gardening and eating local for generations. Plus, enjoy a recipe for pickled beets.
(Page 2 of 2)
Then, of course, there was the cherry tree with my swing on it. Every year my mother and grandmother fought the birds for the sour cherries so they could make pies. As I enjoyed the swing, the birds let their fondness for the berries drop on me. Amazingly, the tree is still alive today!Skip to next paragraph
How to keep a holiday topiary alive
Christmas decorating with snowballs from the garden
The balance of light in the garden
Green in the winter garden
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
My dad ([see photo at left] passed away in 1966, but one of my earliest and fondest memories is going to the farmers' market with him. I can still remember being in awe of fresh blocks of Swiss cheese with their distinctive aroma and buying a bushel of sweet Country Gentleman, a silver shoe peg corn, and to my mind and mouth, one of the finest white corns ever grown.
At the end of summer the tomatoes from the garden became sauce, the carrots because something my grandmother called carrot sauce although she wouldn’t give up the recipe. There were pickled beets, jams, and jellies too.
Now I grow tomatoes, beans, onions, zucchini, peppers and beets. I buy corn at a farmer’s market. I make my tomato sauce, freeze the beans, make a lot of zucchini casserole or bread, salsa with the peppers, and onions for everything.
So I guess that makes me a bit of a locavore but really it’s always been just good homegrown food.
Here a recipe from my dear friend Antoinette Jucha, a Penn State Master Canner. Friends look at me like I’m crazy for saying I love pickled beets but this recipe is tops and will convert the non-believers, too.
Antoinette's Old-Fashioned Pickled Beets
3-1/2 pounds beets (2-1/2 inches in diameter)
2 or 3 onions, chopped or sliced to match the cut of the beets
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups white vinegar (5 percent acidity)
1/2 cup water
Trim the tops off the beets, leaving 1 inch of the stems. Wash the beets. Place them in a pan, cover with boiling water, and simmer until they are tender. Discard water. Cool beets slightly and remove the skins. Cut the beets into chunks or slices, or leaves small ones whole. Mix the onions with the beets.
In a different saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and water; bring to a boil. Boil until it is nearly a syrup.
Pack the beets in hot glass canning jars to within a half-inch of the top. Add 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt to each pint jar or 1 teaspoon pickling salt to each quart jar.Then cover with the boiling syrup, leaving 1/2-inch of head space.
Put the lids on the jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes for pint jars and 25 minutes for quart jars. (Click here to learn more about how to can food.)
Denise Schreiber is the Mrs. Know It All of “The Organic Gardeners” on KDKA Radio and “Ask the Expert” for Pennsylvania Gardener magazine. Her new book is "Eat Your Roses." Click here to read her previous articles at Diggin' It.