Thursday, August 26, 2010

All Hail The Beet Queens

Three of the Beet Queens in Abby's kitchen.
What are those women doing leaning over boiling cauldrons, ladling steaming spicy-sweet vinegar into rows of glass jars and why are their hands stained red? Pickling beets, of course!

For years now, when we've visioned our life after we move into cohousing, near to the top of the list of what we've wanted to do is canning food together. But we don't have to wait to move to cohousing to can, we can start right now! Abby put out the word that she had a lot of beets and invited us to come can. Little did we know she had planted 150 feet of beets — bushels of enormous tasty beets!

We got our systems down quickly: boiling, peeling, slicing, loading jars, processing in the canner and then cooling until the lids ping. We were telling stories and laughing, kids and dogs were running in for food and then off again to play and swim in the pond. We brainstormed about a summer kitchen for canning at the Common House and had a taste of what it will be like, before we know it!

When we were done, we were off to weed Chuck's garden, eat his lovely snacks, swim, and go home tired and happy from being together all day. The first of many work parties.

The end result was 14 pints and 34 quarts of pickled beets ready to open on winter nights when we remember the generosity of a full summer day in Maine!

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