I found some nice new beetroot at the veg shop yesterday so I bought a couple of bunches back with me. Some of it will have as is but the rest this time round I am going to just pickle with some vinegar.
Its very simple to prepare. I was always taught to cut the leaves off but leave a good 3 inches of the stem on the beetroot as if you take this off the beetroot will "bleed" all its colour from the beetroot itself and will be a very pale comparison to what it should be.
You then pop into a saucepan fill with cold water making sure the beetroot is submerged and then leave to cook on a low heat until the beetroot is cooked - I usually leave mine about an hour or so. I then leave to cool in the saucepan. Whilst the beetroot is cooling I put on another pan and put in some spiced vinegar. I boil this up and then leave it to cool. When cool I put in a colander and rub off all the excess skin (If you don't want pink hands at this point it might be wise to put on some gloves of some sort). I then chop into slices or chunks and fill a couple of sterilised jars. I top off with vinegar proof lids and leave to "mature" on the pantry shelf
I always keep a small supply of pickled beetroot in or a beetroot preserve of some sort as during the winter months it adds a nice dash of colour to the winter plate whether you are having a ploughmans or a proper salad or whether you are just serving some simple leaves with a goats cheese, the striking colour always adds impact. The experts reckon we eat with our eyes first and if something is attractive it pushes all the buttons and makes us want to eat.
A lot of people malign the poor pickled beetroot as they cannot cope with the vinegar hit but if you don't like it pickled there are lots of alternatives. Last Year I changed my recipe and preserved the vinegar in jelly. That has been very nice and very different.