I don't know about the cyanide, but I love broccoli and beets. Sometimes together, in a grated slaw (a good way to use the peeled stems of broccoli that otherwise go to waste).
In Heaven Preserve Us, Sophie Mae's boss at the community center dies after eating home canned beets tainted with botulism toxin. Due to their low acid content, beets are among the vegetables that are at high risk for botulism, and must be pressure canned -- as opposed to being canned in a hot water bath -- to ensure safety.
However, if they're pickled the addition of vinegar makes it possible to preserve them without a pressure canner. This is my go to recipe for pickled beets, since I rarely have enough to make more than a quart or two. You don't have to heat the jars at all but they do need to be kept in the refrigerator. I halved the recipe last week and used the beets from the final CSA winter share distribution for the year.
- 8 medium beets
- 1 cup cider or wine vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1.5 teaspoons Kosher or pickling salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 sprigs fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
Slice beets thinly. Pack into two quart jars. Divide the tarragon between the jars. Bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil in a saucepan and pour over the beets. Put the lids on the jars and place in the refrigerator.
They'll be ready to eat in 4-7 days, and will be fine in the fridge for 3 months. They probably won't last that long, though. You could also run them through a hot water bath for 30 minutes, and they'll last unopened on the shelf like any other pickles.