It occurred to me after posting the other day that I had been speaking about what I had been up to but had not really passed on any recipe that I use and which I have found to be successful. I also suggested that if you were going to start your preserving journey it may well be best to start with something like pickled onions or pickled beetroot and then work your way up.
Here is the recipe I use for home made pickled beetroot. If you don't grow your own fresh beetroot has been readily available (well it has round here) to buy and then process. Homemade beetroot to my mind is a lot tastier.
The thing with beetroot is not to damage the tap root (the bit that comes out of the bottom) and not to trim too much down on the leaf end say to about an inch otherwise the beetroot will bleed and lose all its colour which is not what we want. It will bleed anyway (but not as much as without the top or the root) so extreme care must be taken when handling the same. Once cooked the tap root will rub off as will the top but I suggest that you wear a pinny or coverup and also marigolds or disposal gloves to save your hands and everything else being badly stained.
Well here's the recipe:
The beetroot can be cubed or sliced or if you grow your own tiny baby beets can be used.
1kg/2lb uncooked beetroot
5ml/1tsp sea salt
1.15 litres/2 pints white wine vinegar (I have in the past used brown malt vinegar) but the spirit vinegar gives a classier look to it).
1. Wash the beetroot taking care not to damage their skins, root or tops.
2. Put the beetroot into a large heavy based saucepan (I use the bottom of my pressure cooker as it is both and have in the past pressure cooked the beetroot). Cover with the water add some salt and simmer covered for about 1/1/2 to two hours or until the beetroots are tender. Leave the beetroots in the pan they were cooked in to cool.
3. When the beetroot is cool I peel them in the sink and then slice, dice or use the baby beetroot and decant into previously sterilised jars (just because you are using vinegar you still need the same sterilising standards as for any other preserve). Do not forget to wrap and dispose of the spent skins and roots into the dustbin and make sure you clear any spills as you don't want purple this and purple that for the next few days.
4. Put the vinegar into a pan and bring to the boil. Pour the boiling vinegar over the beetroot to cover it by 1.25cm/ 1/2 an inch. Gently tap the jars to remove any air pockets or insert a knife into the jar which does the same moving it around the jar. Remove once you are satisfied there are no air bubbles.
5. Seal the jars and label. Keep in a cool dark place for about three weeks before using to allow the flavours to develop.
Makes about 3 x 300ml/10 fl oz jars).
Serve with salads, or a cheeseboard or meat board with other pickles.
That's it, you have made your first pickle. Feeling proud of yourself. You should be.
Catch you soon.