Here’s another decorative dish for your Thanksgiving table.
I don’t recall mother or grandmother making cold pickled beets, but mother’s favorite way to serve canned beets was Harvard beets (a recipe for another day) which also is a sweet and sour sauce.
When I first added pickled beets and eggs to our Thanksgiving menu, my main thought was how beautiful the bright magenta beets and eggs would look in one of my great-grandmother’s cut-glass bowls on the Thanksgiving table. Now I can’t leave them off the table, or I’ll hear from my son Mike.
Of course pickled vegetables were a staple of my ancestors, and you can use basically this same recipe to “put up” beets in glass jars, if you wish. You can find directions on the Internet in many places. The history of the humble root is fascinating for its International flare. At first, beets were deemed only fit to feed livestock. (Lucky pigs!) Our early ancestors would have called this vegetable a blood turnip, and Ken’s Swiss family persists in calling them “red beets.”
Growing up we knew nothing BUT red beets, so it seemed redundant to me to call them “red beets,” but recently at farmer’s markets, I have tried yellow, striped, and orange beets.
You can see various recipes used for beets in the 1800s at this American Cookery site.
The history of pickled eggs is interesting as well. They seem to be considered an English tradition–definitely pub food. In the early days of this country visitors to bars might have gotten a little food for free along with their drink and big jars of disgusting brownish liquid held pickled eggs.
Whoever decided to mix them with beets to turn them beautiful red, deserves our everlasting thanks.