Jill is a wife, and homestead mama in Arkansas, gardening and teaching thousands of beginner gardeners how to grow their own food through her podcast, her blog, books, and social media.
She is a wealth of knowledge, and loves to share! All her links are listed below!
Can you believe I had never tasted a beet until I was in my mid-30s? Now, I’m obsessed.
My first exposure to my favorite salad addition was when I enjoyed brunch at my older friend Vickie’s house. She happened to be my OBGYN who delivered my daughter, and we reconnected as blogging friends after an illness forced her to retire.
To me, a yummy salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, cheddar cheese, ham bits, and honey mustard dressing. But on this day, Vickie introduced me to a whole new world. Romaine lettuce, arugula, baby greens, pickled beets, goat cheese, and a vinaigrette dressing.
I didn’t know I could love something so much. That one experience is what set me on a course to grow a variety of lettuce, arugula, and yes, beets.
Beets didn’t turn out to be as easy to grow as I had hoped, but eventually I hit my stride. Once I harvested enough to pickle, I turned to my Ball Blue Book of canning and used that pickled beet recipe. (However, instead of boiling the beets, I roast them, covered for about an hour at 350; then I peel. To me, this gives them a better flavor.)
I can’t recall when it occurred to me to try to make my own salad dressing using the pickled beet brine. I imagine it was when I had eaten all the beets in the jar and couldn’t fathom throwing out the delicious ruby colored nectar.
I am by no means a cook. My mom didn’t cook and up until this point, the only cooking I had done involved following a recipe to a T. But I had recalled reading somewhere that a vinaigrette usually had a certain ratio of vinegar to olive oil. Why not try something new? I thought. And alas, it worked. I’ve found my favorite salad dressing I use on all my homemade salads
Though you could probably adjust this to your preference, this is the pickled beet vinaigrette recipe I use:
½ cup pickled beet brine
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Balsamic vinaigrette
1 tbsp. Pure maple syrup
That’s it! Now, thanks to Vickie, my daily salads consist of greens from my garden, pickled beets I’ve preserved from my harvest, goat cheese (I still buy this), and my homemade vinaigrette.
With the exception of a few ingredients, this salad is the ideal “garden to table” lunch!