His Majesty's Dragon (Fruit) Wrap Up · 14 April 2007
When last heard from, I was buried in preparation for pickling. Since then, I’ve pickled the beets and performed an extensive search for dragon fruit.
Despite my relative inexperience, the pickling and canning process took only three hours, during which I also wrestled with my cell phone’s mysterious decision to vibrate in the middle of calls, then subsequently stop transmitting all sound.
In sheer defiance of all my worries, all five of the pint jars that I packed with pickled beets were sealed tightly and survived the cooling process without incident. But aside from the mechanical success, I’m not very thrilled with the pickling result. When the beets were boiling, they filled the house with a wonderful woody aroma. Once I added the beets to the pickling liquid, that aroma was drowned out by vinegar, as was the taste. It turns out my conception of pickled beets is more like “very lightly pickled fresh boiled beets.”
I’m not posting the recipe (why would you guys want to spend 3 hours making something mediocre?). But, if anyone really loves pickled beets, I now have enough to last years and I’d be happy to get rid of some.
I did come out of this experiment with a certain sympathy for members of the military who were forced to eat the results of early canning. The amount of vinegar used must have seared off half their taste buds.
The Little Loved Pickled Beets
My search for dragon fruit was also partially successful. I had some time to kill Wednesday night before dinner and found myself in San Juan Capistrano on the night of their farmer’s market. I got a tip off to a San Diego County cactus grower, who was happy to direct me to a place I could buy the plant, but not the fruit. I’m not quite that committed to dragon fruit, especially not since the cactus grows into a climbing tree that would dwarf me.
After some online poking around, I had basically given up on finding the dragon fruit before I moved on to the next book feature, but I headed out to the local Saturday farmer’s markets anyway. Let me abbreviate the rest of the search. Dragon fruit is not in season. Dragon fruit vitamin water; however, is always in season, and so I was able to instigate “Plan B” and picked some up on the way home.
Glaceau claims that their power-c vitamin water blend, with dragon fruit and taurine, “enables the body to exert physical power by contributing to the integrity of the musculoskeletal system.” It didn’t exactly instill in me the strength and ferocity of the dragon that legends promise, but it was pleasant enough. It also met my entire vitamin C needs for the day and 50% of the daily recommended values for 5 of the B-vitamins. I guess we can’t all be strong like dragons, but at least we can be well-hydrated and vitamin-rich the entire year.