One thing about growing your own fruit and vegetables is that often after waiting for weeks and sometimes months, suddenly there is an abundance, which is wonderful of course, but eating beetroots (or anything) every day for several days running can challenge even the most devoted beetroot-lover. When I was growing up, my nanna had an enormous apricot tree and despite having two very hungry little granddaughters - summer after summer, there were always too many apricots. So nanna would bottle them, and throughout the year, she could open a jar and serve us a little bit of sunshine with a scoop of ice cream. Fast-forward a few years and pickled beetroot brings me (almost) as much joy as those apricots; they are so much more delicious and so easy, that I would never dream of buying tinned.
You can eat them straight out of the jar (as we often do), or toss a few slices with a handful or two of cooked puy lentils, some marinated goats cheese and a splash of very good olive oil. They will transform homemade beef burgers, and would love to be taken on a picnic.
Easy Pickled Beetroot
makes one medium jar
10-12 small beetroots (or about 6 medium beetroots)
350ml organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 cup raw, unrefined caster sugar
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Sterilise a large glass jar. The easiest way to do this is to put it in the dishwasher.
Meanwhile, scrub beetroots and put them in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender (about 30-40 minutes). Drain, reserving 300ml of the cooking liquid. Run beetroots under cold water, and using the back of a small paring knife, slip off their skins. Slice into rounds or cut into wedges and set aside.
When the dishwasher is nearing the end of its cycle; bring vinegar, reserved cooking liquid, sugar, cumin, coriander and salt, back to the boil.
Place the sliced beetroot into the hot sterilised jar and fill with the hot liquid. Refrigerate and wait. They will be ready after a few days, but better after a month, and should keep for another few months after that.
- Try using yellow or candy-striped Chioggia beetroot for even prettier pickles
- You can use any spices that you like; bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, mustard seeds and allspice all work well
- Don't throw away the greens! Tender young ones are wonderful in salads and the larger ones make a great alternative to spinach, perhaps in the Tart of Goats Cheese and Garden Greens I posted recently.