I cannot remember a day there wasn’t a bunch of beetroot picked from the vegetable patch this summer. I know I should feel happy and grateful for them, versatile as they are in salads, hummus and grated into a chocolate cake. Not forgetting the deep green leaves, with their magenta veins, they make possibly the tastiest of all greens. (I sauté the leaves with the sliced stems in sunflower oil, sliced garlic and chilli). No, I know I should be thankful but I planted so many this year!
As the season changes, it’s that time when I’m pickling as many vegetables I possibly can from my garden harvest. Pickles are easy to make and refreshingly crunchy. They perk up an open sandwich, and are a lovely accompaniment to meat, cheese or just about anything really. This Aromatic Pickled Beetroot recipe has been a constant favourite in my family for many years, with just the right balance of aromatic spices, sweetness and punchy vinegar flavour.
Firstly before you begin, it is crucial you have scrupulously clean equipment to eliminate any bacteria or yeasts from the equation.
Ingredients you’ll need to pickle beetroot.
Whole Beetroot – Try to use beetroot of a similar size. Not always easy when you grow your own. Just stagger the cooking time if you have very large and small beets.
Vinegar – I have used predominantly white wine vinegar (6% acidity) in this recipe. However I also like the addition of apple cider vinegar (5% acidity) for the fruity taste. This gives the pickled beetroot a slightly shorter shelf life, but hopefully they won’t hang around long enough for that to be an issue.
Sugar – Soft light brown sugar gives a slightly caramelised flavour but if you don’t have any to hand, golden granulated will do the job. You can also replace the sugar with honey.
Spices – I like the subtle sweet flavour of cloves, mild citrus notes from coriander seeds and a little heat from the peppercorns and mustard seeds. Not forgetting the infusion of menthol from the bay leaves.
An excellent, economical and delicious way to enjoy the taste of homegrown vegetables throughout the year.
Aromatic Pickled Beetroot
- 2 large kilner jars or 4-5 jam jars (450g)
- 1 kg Beetroot
- 475 ml white wine vinegar
- 200 ml apple cider vinegar
- 125 g light brown sugar
- 10 g fine sea salt
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 Tbls yellow mustard seeds
- 1 Tbls coriander seeds
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water, rinse, then place on a baking tray and put in a low oven for 10 mins or until completely dry. If you want to use rubber seals, remove the seals and cover in just-boiled water. Make sure you sterilise any funnels, ladles or spoons you’re going to be using too. All equipment must be sparklingly clean before you begin, to eliminate bacteria or yeasts from the equation.
- Preheat oven to 100°C. Begin with washing the kilner jars and lids with hot soapy water, rinse then place on a baking tray and pop in the oven. If you’re using rubber seals place in very hot but not boiling water. Don’t forget to sterilise the funnel and spoons, if using. All the equipment must be super clean before you begin, to eliminate the chance of bacteria or yeast to grow.
- Begin with washing the beetroot thoroughly, leave the root and approximately 3cm of the stem. Place in a saucepan and cover with water, add 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the beetroot are cooked through. I had very small to very large so I staggered the cooking of the beetroot, adding the small ones half way through the cooking time.
- Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then remove the roots and stems, then rub off the skin. Cut into slices or wedges, place into a large bowl.
- To make the pickling liquor, place the whole spices in a small frying pan. Toast over a medium-low heat until they begin to release a lovely aroma. Have a saucepan ready and add the vinegar, sugar, salt and bay leaves. Now add the toasted spices. Let the sugar dissolve over a low heat, then bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes. remove from the heat.
- Now pack the beetroot into the hot, sterilised jars. Pour over the pickling liquor and seal immediately. The beetroot will be ready to eat in 2 weeks. Once opened, eat with 10 days
If you have tried this recipe and like it, you may want to give Classic Swedish Pickled Gherkins a go.