I really need to warm my poor, frozen hands up a little before I make a start on pickling my beetroot or I may not know if I am awash with beetroot juice or have actually lost a finger. The beetroot I am pickling is Boltardy. It has been steadily growing since I planted the seeds in april and I now have a fine harvest of deep red, round, firm vegetables. Beetroot seedlings need to be thinned to allow them to develop, a task I failed to do. As a consequence I have a mixed bunch of medium sized and marble sized vegetables. The reasonable sized ones I am pickling the little ones will be made into beetroot, pear and feta cheese salad; a delicious side dish to have with lamb and cous cous.
The first thing to do is heat the oven to 180 degrees gas mark 4. While the oven is warming, wash the dirt and the occasional slug off the beetroot and trim off the leaves. These leaves are too tough to be eaten so they are going on the compost heap. Wrap the beetroot up in foil and roast in the oven for 1-2 hours depending on the size.
While the beetroot is roasting the pickling vinegar can be made and the jars sterilised.
For 2 kilos of beetroot you will need
1.5 litres of malt vinegar 1 tbsp of black peppercorns 10 whole cloves 1 bay leaf 250 g granulated sugar
Put all the ingredients in a large pan, bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute. Turn the heat off and let the spices infuse for 1-2 hours.
When the beetroot is tender and cool, peel and slice. Place the slices into sterilised jars, warm up the pickling vinegar and fill. Put the lids on, store and enjoy.