Thursday, 16 September 2010

Can You Feel The Beet?

Of all the veg I grow, beetroot is my favourite. I love their sweet earthiness and the vivid leaves, which are a real treat to cook with that you rarely experience with shop bought beetroot* (the young leaves add a lovely earthiness to salad, the older leaves can be cooked like spinach or chard. Well, they are chard. Kind of.). This year I've been experimenting with growing different varieties of beetroot. I've grown more varieties of the classic, round ruby variety than I can keep up with! But of the other varieties out there this year I tried Blankoma white (not that impressive, to be honest), the candy striped Chioggia (best sliced thinly & eaten raw, as cooking turns the red & white stripes into uniform pink), Cylindra (a red barrel rooted variety, one of this years favourites), Burpee's Golden (a round yellow variety that tastes slightly sweeter than the red & the leaves are delicious) & Yellow Cylindrical beetroot (the other favourite of the year! Tender leaves and creamy white flesh). It was the Yellow Cylindrical variety that I used to make this recipe (no stains, woo!)

Beetroot Relish (as opposed to pickled beetroot)

500g beetroots, any colour or shape (I used golden cylinder beets, which are almost identical to the red ones, but without the dreaded staining)
400g red onions, chopped
100g sugar
200ml red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
Black pepper
25g grated horseradish (optional. You could use 25g grated fresh ginger instead. Or the juice and zest of an orange)

Roast the beetroot in an oven at 180C for about an hour, or until cooked. Leave to cool & rub off the skins (they’ll slip off easily. If not, a sharp knife will help them along). Grate or chop as small as you can stand & put into a pan with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil & simmer, stirring regularly, for about 30 minutes, or until thickened. Spoon into clean, sterilised jars

*Presumably due to them wilting fairly quickly after harvesting.

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