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Bounty Part 2: Beetroot

Late summer abundance continues to rock my world. While the tomatoes and onions were soaking in salt for the green tomato relish, M and I beetled off to the markets for the weekly vegetable gathering. Beetroot is in season at the moment, boy fucking howdypants is it in season. It’s cheap as anything and nearly every stall at the markets has it in big, cheap bunches.  I’ve been nomming it with noisy, grunty happiness like an unrestrained truffle pig. Roast beetroot with a balsamic vinegar glaze is amazing with a cheese plate; cooked beetroot puréed with mint, pepper, olive oil and yoghurt makes the world’s most incredible dip; beetroot relish has a sweet and spicy darkness that will make you crap yourself with happiness (so, y’know, eat it alone); and you don’t need me to tell you that roast beetroot in a salad is amazing — there’s a reason that it appears on every freaking cafe menu from here to Amsterdam. I grew up loving the tinned stuff (still won’t say no to it), especially on sandwiches, and now the fresh stuff is rocking my pants until they just fly off with glee. I know you can also eat the leaves, but I haven’t gotten around to trying them yet, since I’m so fixated on the big fat rubies on the end of the stalks.

While searching for new things to do with beetroot, I learned of Alton Brown’s pickled beetroot recipe. Dumb-arse revelation: the beetroot you buy tinned is in a pickling solution. Vinegar, sugar, salt — never occurred to me before. Let’s take a second and recap: beetroot are cheap as dirt right now; I want new things to do with beetroot; I already know I like some forms of pickled beetroot…why the fuck aren’t I pickling beetroot right now?

Hop to it.

Roasty toasty beets

First you cook your beets separately — a bit different to most pickling recipes I’ve found so far, which seem to use raw vegetables, but not so with beetroot. I guess because they’re too hard and unpalatable uncooked.  M roasted our beetroot with garlic, rosemary and oil, then we peeled and sliced and then, if the camera evidence is reliable, we had a BEETROOT DISCO!!!

PARTY BEETS

Then you pop them in a jar, with alternating layers of sliced purple onion, and pour your hot, pre-prepared pickling solution over them. Voila! Pickled beetroot. Makes a big bottle:

A big pretty bottle

Which you can then stand on the carpet to try and get a photo of in the morning sunlight. Naughty Chair in the background.  It’s an incredibly pretty bottle to have in the fridge. I love rough, uneven, unphotogenic food (quinces, knobbly brown carrot cakes, pumpernickel, etc.) but I love pretty food too (figs, pomegranates, beetroots, purple onions, broccoli, etc.) and this is some of the prettiest. I know we’re supposed to wait a week or so before sampling, to let the vinegar solution flavour the beetroots, but I don’t know how I’m going to wait. Not unless I have something deliciously pickley to tide me over…

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