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Beetroot Recipes

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beetrootThese free recipes feature Beetroot which is one of the most under-rated of vegetables. It comes in many varieties as well as the common red. We grow the Chioggia style white striped which has slightly less flavour but is sweet and matures early, as well as Bolthardy and similar traditional varieties. In a good year it is very rewarding but must be planted, thinned, and nurtured just like any other plant for the best results. It can be cooked in many ways, but our favourites are curried beetroot, roast, boiled and pickled (see below). Soups can also be delicious, a recipe for Bortsch (Beetroot soup) is also on this site. Recipes for Beetroot Chutney and a Beetroot and Orange salad are also in this library. Small (usually less than 4 - 6oz/125/175g) beet are the best for boiling, medium (around 0.5lb/250g) for roasting or pickling. Roasting the largest ones is probably best as long as long as they are fresh and not bitter or woody. Very small roots can be pickled whole.  If you have a large surplus, store them in a clamp rather than leave them in the ground too long. Like Marmite (that's Vegimite to our antipodean friends), you either love it or hate it. Here are some ideas to try to accentuate the positive !


Allow 2 to 4 oz (60 to 120g) per person as a side dish or with roasts and stews. Clean by gently scrubbing, cut away most of the tail and cut the top across just below where the leaves sprout but not into the flesh. Do not skin. Boil enough water so that they are just covered and put the roots in. Do not use any salt. Bring back to the boil and cook for 30 (small), 45 (medium) or up to 60 or more minutes for the largest. The white varieties cook 10 to 20% faster than the red. Test for tenderness using a sharp pointed knife, if it sinks well in fairly easily, they are cooked. Drain, rinse with cold water for a short time to cool the outer layers. Skin by rubbing away the outer layer, cut into wedges and serve. They are just as good if served cold, so do not be worried if you have some left over. With experience, you can adjust the cooking time to suit the texture that you prefer. We like them to be almost, but not quite, soft. Leftovers can be pickled if need be (see below).

Preparation should be as for boiling. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast the whole root for a similar time as for boiling at around 180șC, making sure that you test at regular intervals. Discard the skin when cooked. The texture of the roast vegetable is slightly softer and smoother than when boiled.

Wash the roots being careful not to break the skins. Trim the tops to remove any leaf residue but do not cut back into the flesh. Cut off the root to leave a tiny "tail". Place in  sufficient boiling salted water to cover the roots properly. Bring back to the boil and simmer gently for  1 to 1.5 hrs depending on the size. When fully cooked, a knife should sink into the flesh easily. An alternative is to cook at 15lb pressure in a pressure cooker using the manufacturers instructions. Allow to cool, skin and trim. Cut the main root into rounds about 1/8" (3mm) - 1/4" (6mm) thick depending on your preference. If the rounds are very large, cut each one into 4 pieces so as to get them into the storage container easily.

If the pickled beetroot is to be used within a week or so (and stored in a fridge during that time), the rounds can simply be packed into a jar and covered with cold malt or pickling vinegar. If they are to be stored for a long time they should be packed (not too tightly) into proper pickling or bottling jars and covered with boiling vinegar and sealed immediately. Modern jam jars that create a vacuum seal can be used but make sure that the lid is clean, the seal is good and that the vacuum has been created (the central dimple should be depressed.)

With all pickling and preserving, cleanliness is important so make sure that the jars are very clean before use. When bulk pickling, we have held our jars at 120 degrees C. in the oven for 30 minutes after washing, just to be sure.

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Updated 10/2/2006

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