Tinned Beetroot is a Kiwi Classic

If you’re talking about beetroot (aka ‘beets’ for those of you in parts elsewhere), here in NZ, generally what people think of is the stuff that comes, pre-sliced, in a can, and you stick it on your burger or add it to your salad. It’s actually ridiculously easy to grow, though, and I discovered that getting that iconic tinned beetroot taste at home is entirely doable.

'scuse the weeds
‘scuse the weeds

I can’t even remember when I sowed these. After the carrots (not pictured), but at least long enough ago that they’ve been shoving themselves up and out of the ground in places. The variety is ‘Cylindra‘.

2

I’ve not had a huge amount of luck with beetroot before. I’ve sowed them direct, I’ve sowed them in trays, and never really got anything edible out of it. This time I sowed them thick in a row, direct in the ground, in a part of the garden that gets watered daily during the summer, and it worked \o/ Yeah, they’re all squooshed together, but I haven’t bothered thinning them. The roots will be smaller, but as I pull the bigger ones to eat, the rest will have more room to grow. I yanked a few out of the ground on impulse last night, just because.

Urgh, there's rust on my practically brand new lid. Never buy these jars. They're rubbish.
Urgh, there’s rust on my practically brand new lid. Never buy these jars. They’re rubbish.

I boiled ’em, skinned ’em, sliced ’em into a jar and poured a mixture of vinegar, sugar, salt and water (using the same recipe as the fridge-pickled gherkins I make. Note: not a shelf-stable recipe, short-term refrigerated storage only) over them, and, I swear, they’re just like a bought one. Which is awesome, cos we love tinned beetroot around here.

4Course, you end up with a bit of leftovers in the form of the tops. You can eat these, as beetroot are the same species as silverbeet (aka Swiss chard )—beta vulgaris—but mine ended up in the compost as we’ve got silverbeet and spinachy things coming out our ears around here. I probably should have dehydrated them—it might have made a very pretty coloured ‘green’ powder, but tbh I was far too tired lazy for that.

 

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