I received a fantastic gift this week from another blogger. SnafflesMummy made me a beautiful apron that I absolutely love. Thank you! (Click here to see her cute blog.)
To break in my new apron, I wore it while we worked on a new kitchen project. My in-laws are involved with a cooperative farm, and they are responsible for the beetroot section of the farm. They recently harvested their beetroot crop, and gave us a bag of their freshly picked baby beetroot.
We really wanted to pickle some of it so that we could enjoy it throughout the year.
Here's our simple pickled beetroot process:
1. Sterilize storage jars. Fill with boiling water, then empty and put in the oven on a baking sheet until ready to use. Keep it on a low temperature. If you are using jars with seals, soften the seals.
2. Wash the beetroot. Cut off the leaves, but do not yet top and tail. Then boil the beetroot for about 30 minutes in heavily salted water. (Adjust cooking time according to the size of the beets; we had quite small beets.)
3. Remove and drain the beetroot. Rinse to remove excess salt. Then top and tail them using a small knife. This should make them quite easy to peel. Holding them in your hands, you should be able to just slide the beetroot out of its skin. Put the prepared beetroot into the storage jars.
4. Bring pickling vinegar to the boil. When it is boiling, remove from heat and pour directly into the jars over the beetroot. Put on the lids as quickly as possible so that they seal.
The beetroot pickled like this will keep for years. It's great to pull out later and slice into salads or cook with.
We didn't want to waste the rest of the beetroot that we didn't need for pickling. So we decided to make a vegetable stock. All of the washed beetroot leaves got tossed into a big pot with any other extra vegetable bits we had, including some garlic and onion offcuts, pea shells and shoots, carrot peels, some spinach, some bits of pepper, etc. We also tossed in big sprigs of fresh herbs from the garden, and a handful of peppercorns and coriander seeds. Add just enough water to cover, and then put on a lid and let simmer for a few hours. We poured the stock through a colander and then a sieve, and then poured into a storage jar (while still very hot) to seal.
We ended up with a very rich and earthy stock that will be great to use for gravy. All of the ingredients were either from the garden, or things that would have otherwise been thrown away.