Home Grown Pickled Beetroot


 

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This is really so complicated to do …..not!! Even a bloke could do it!! It really is that easy, to grow and to pickle!

Beetroot is a great addition to salads, hamburgers and similar foods. It’s even really good as it is on it’s own and I’ve been known to make a pig of myself and eat a whole jar

All you need is beetroot, plain old cheap white vinegar and sugar. (and jars to put it in)

Of course, you don’t have to use home grown beetroot as you can always buy it but…. believe me, home grown is best….. you know how it’s been grown and how fresh it is when you use it. You also know what sort of fertilisers have been used, if any.

Ok, obviously the first step is to go get your beetroot. I’ve grown mine (below) and it needs preparing before cooking. All I have to do is cut the tops off and wash them  or… to explain that in a bit more of a technical fashion…. slosh them around in a bucket of water to get all the dirt off!

If you buy your beets then they’ll probably come already washed and trimmed. I would still wash them though.

One of the beets just after harvesting ready to have the top cut off.

Cutting the tops off. The discarded tops go straight into the compost bin.

Next the beets need grading into rough sizes – small, medium and large. This is done because the bigger ones take longer to cook than the smaller ones. Once that’s done they’re ready for cooking.

 Graded into small, medium and large sizes.

 The large size beets in a bowl ready to go into the pot.

Now….. the pot….

I use a pressure cooker to cook my beets, and recently I’ve been surprised by the number of people who have never used one – or even knew what one was believe it or not!

The advantage of a pressure cooker is that they cook much faster. I do the really big ones in the pressure cooker in about 17 – 18 minutes and they could take up to an hour if you just boiled them.

 My pressure cooker. This is the second one I’ve had and is much bigger than the first one. I can get a lot more into it.

 Ready to load in the beets.

One thing with pressure cookers is that they must not be misused. You have to look after them and always follow the instructions. Never overfill them.  There should be a mark on the inside that indicates the maximum you can fill them. It’s at about the 2/3 mark.

 The beets loaded in.

Next fill it up to just cover the beets, but no more than the maximum level indicated. I use hot water from the tap so it doesn’t have to heat up from cold.

Then stick the lid on and fire it up!

Cooking time starts from when the valve on top of the pressure cooker starts to hiss and as a rough guide I cook the large ones for about 18 minutes, the medium for about 14 and the smaller ones for about 11.

Bear in mind that these times are just a guide. Different cookers cook differently and experience is a great thing. Read on..

 Ready to put the lid on.

I didn’t put a photo in here of the cooker hissing away on the stove as what’s to see really, just a pressure cooker on the stove!

Below, the cooking part is done and the lid is off. To see if they are cooked, pick one out using a spoon or a couple of forks and test it by pushing one of the forks into it. If the beet is hard, it needs more cooking, soft or even sloppy, less cooking, (not much you can do in this case) and if you can push the fork in with like a medium resistance then it’s done just right.

If it is under cooked then I just fire up the hot-plate and gently boil it all for five minutes or so then try again.

Next time just add a little time when you pressure-cook it, but not as much time as when you boiled it as pressure-cooking is much quicker than plain boiling. It all comes down to plain old experience.

Once they are cooked then that process needs to be stopped so I just dump them in the sink and fill it up with cold water.

I didn’t photograph that part of it as I forgot to do it but I guess it’s pretty obvious anyway.

 Cooking finished. Dump then in a sink with cold water to stop the cooking process.

To get the beets ready for slicing cut off the top and the tail and just slide off the skin. They need to be still hot but not so much so that you can’t hold them. I have the cutting board right next to the sink so that the tops and tails drop into the sink.

 One of the beets ready for slicing (right).

I usually cut the tops and tails off and skin them all at once.

All ready for slicing.

 The thickness of the slices is up to you, whatever suits your taste. Some of the smaller ones I don’t even cut, they go in the jar as they are. Some I just cut in half.  It all depends on what you want. It doesn’t make any difference to the process. They all taste just as good.

 Sliced and ready to go in the jar.

This is the jar I’m using today. I keep glass jars as I use the contents and even collect them from other sources. Most are great as long as the top goes on and seals.

The jar ready to be filled. Just make sure it’s been washed and is clean.

 Put the sliced beetroot in the jar in layers. Dump a couple of dessert spoons of sugar on top of each layer.

 The first layer in the jar.

 Sugar on top of the first layer.

 Fill the jar up with layers of beetroot and sugar.

When the jar is full with beetroot and sugar then add the vinegar so that all the beetroot is covered. Put the top on and tighten it. I often put a double layer of Glad Wrap type plastic film on top of the jar first before I put the lid on as sometimes it seals better. Once it’s filled turn it over a couple of times and shake it to dissolve all the sugar.

Once that’s done, put it in the cupboard and leave it for a couple of weeks at least before eating. I think that ten months is the longest I’ve left a jar before eating. It was the last one from the previous season and tasted just as good.

 All filled up, sealed and ready to put in the cupboard.

That’s it for the cooking now just a little bit on the care of the pressure-washer.

Obviously when you’ve finished the job you clean the  pressure-cooker. Rinse it well and and let it dry before putting it away. Wash and dry all the parts separately, especially the weight that sits on the lid. Don’t let it dry in-situ (unless of course the manufacturers instructions say to do that)

 The parts of the pressure-cooker (less the pan of course) The small black part at the front is the weight that causes it to build up pressure and slots onto the spigot at the front of the handle. Always make sure this is free and loose and never ever put anything on top of it when you’re using it.  The shinier silver hole in the handle is the safety lock that stops the lid being taken off when it’s under pressure.

 The same bits closer-up.

 The weight in place with the cooker under pressure. There’s actually a jet of steam shooting out the front of the weight and the safety lock is operating (red bit sticking up)

That’s it folks. All done!

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