I gathered up the last scraggy beetroots from my summer garden and bottled them today. I preserved the main crop about a month ago. These were the ones that weren’t big enough then. They still haven’t grown much but needed to come out of the ground. I buy beetroot from the vege shop all year long, boil or steam it, slice it and keep it in apple cider vinegar in the fridge. It comes in handy as an extra veg for most meals. Come next spring I’m going to grow a main crop of beetroot for bottling and will aim to cultivate a years supply. They are so very easy to bottle.
First wash your beetroot, break the leafy stems off. Don’t cut into your beetroots as this will make them bleed out into the water and lose their wonderful colour. I also grew some yellow beets this year. Manglebeet I think they were called, a heritage plant. They grew huge and had a milder taste than the red varieties, so I had a few late developers of those mixed in with this lot.
Place your washed beets into a pot of boiling water and simmer until they are cooked. The best way to test is to poke a skewer into one.
When they are cooked to tender I tip them into the sink and run them under cold water to cool them down a little. Then peel off the skin, it will slide it off under your fingers easily.
Now cut the beetroots into chunks or slices, whatever your preference. On the stovepot add to a pan enough vinegar that will cover your sliced beetroot. I used cider vinegar. Bring to the boil.
While the vinegar is coming to the boil wash your jars and lids and leave them sitting in the sink in very hot water.
Once the vinegar is boiling add the beetroots. When back on the boil (this only takes a few minutes) your beetroot is now ready to go into your hot clean jars. I place a frying pan beside the pan of simmering beets. I warm the frying pan by pouring some hot water into it then just tip it out. This stops the jar cracking when you pour in the hot vinegar.
Take a hot jar and dry it with a clean teatowel. Place the jar in the frying pan then fill the jar with beetroot and top up with vinegar till just overflowing. Put the lid on and screw firmly shut. It’s as simple as that.
Once the jars have cooled down to room temperature give them a wipe and store your preserves in a cool dark cupboard. Enjoy!