Making pickled beetroot

24 November 2009
Beets are one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. The root can be served raw, juiced, boiled, baked and pickled. The green tops can be steamed, boiled or stir fried or used in the same way you use silverbeet or spinach. Beets are one of the easy to grow vegetables everyone should fall in love with.

If you're new to food preservation, pickled beets is one of those easy to learn processes that while not fully utilising canning or processing procedures, will help you preserve your beetroot for a very long time in the fridge.

If you're growing beets, pick about 6 of them, or buy a bunch from the market. Don't cut into the roots because they'll bleed their juice out. Cut the tops off about ½ inch above the top of the root, leaving a little of the green. Scrub the roots with a vegetable brush and wash clean. It's okay to have different sizes but you have to remember to remove the smaller ones first and give the big ones more cooking time. You want them to cook until they're knife tender.

Add the roots to a pot of cold water with a little salt added and bring to the boil with the lid on. When they start to boil, turn down the heat and simmer them until you can easily slip a sharp knife into them. Remove the small ones first, give the larger ones a couple of extra minutes cooking time. When all are cooked, drain the water off in a colander and let them cool down. This part of the process should take about 20 minutes.

When they're still warm, slip the skins off. You can do this with your hands, the skins should just slide right off. Wash your hands as soon as you finish to remove the red stains. Your hands won't be stained as long as you wash them regularly throughout this process.

While the beets are cooking you can make your spiced vinegar. Into a saucepan place:
1 cup water
2 cups vinegar - I used apple cider vinegar
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of mixed spices - I mixed up a combo of celery seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns and used two teaspoons of the mix.

Bring this mixture to the boil and simmer it for two minutes.

Trim off the tops and bottoms and put into the compost bucket, then slice the roots. Six sliced beetroots will generally fit into a one litre/quart jar. Pour the spiced vinegar over the beetroot to cover all of them. Then seal the lid and store in the fridge.

NOTE: make sure your jars, lids and any seals you use are scrupulously clean. Give them a good wash and run hot water over the jar and lids before you use them. When you intend to keep food for a long time, it's important to always start off with everything clean.

Pickled beetroot will keep well in the fridge for six months. If you want to keep it longer you'll need to process it in a water bath canner.

Pickled beetroot can be served as part of a trio of pickled vegetables along with bread and butter cucumbers and pickled onions. All of them are delicious eaten as part of a salad and compliment the rich creamy dressings of some salads very nicely. I am serving this trio of pickled vegies at our Christmas lunch.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Nutritional Value of Beet - from here
Beet is a rich source of Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus and Copper. Whereas Calcium, Sodium, Zinc and Selenium are present in small amounts. Vitamin Content: Beet consists of Vitamin C, Folate and Betaine in large quantities. Vitamin A, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Pantothenic Acid are also present in small amounts. It also constitutes traces of Beta Carotene.