Beetroot & Orange Preserve

Beetroots on the raised bed

After a successful growing season we had more beetroots than we knew how to deal with, and despite the obvious temptations of Chocolate Beetroot Cake (rich, sticky, strangely red-tinged chocalatey deliciousness), we opted to make Beetroot & Orange Preserve with our surplus homegrown organic beetroots.

  1. Taken from old favourite “The Complete Book of Preserves & Pickles”, the recipe starts by warming 300ml of malt vinegar with 200g of sugar.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, add 350g of cubed (1cm) beetroot, 350g of cubed cooking apple, 225g finely chopped onions, a crushed clove of garlic, finely grated rind & juice of an orange, and 1 teaspoon each of salt & ground allspice.
  3. Simmer for approximately 40 minutes, and then boil for 10 minutes until the preserve thickens.
  4. Bottle as normal, mature for at least 2 weeks & use within 6 months.

We enjoyed this beautifully jewel-coloured preserve over Christmas served with local cheeses, particulary Llangloffan, but it should work with any reasonably mature, ‘nutty’ cheese. The recipe recommends it with cream cheese on a baked potato. We haven’t tried it yet with home boiled ham, but are looking forward to thick slices of ham slathered in the preserve between doorstep slices of fresh bread later in the year.

And if you’re still thinking of the Chocolate Beetroot Cake with slight horror or confusion, remember that root vegetables are a common ingredient in baking. Well, in carrot cake at least! And Jane claims to  have had Beetroot ice cream, very pretty.

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