Just recently I noticed that beets (aka beetroot) has become a more common occurrence in my life. Ok, so it’s not a new thing for me, I grew up in a family that LOVES my Deda’s Georgian Beets. She, my father or my aunt would make them for every special dinner and sometimes just because. I never really liked them as a child. Now though, I think they are amazing! They are cooked and cubed and mixed with coriander and Georgian spices. I will have to make them sometime here, because now that I have thought of them, I have a bit of a hankering. 🙂
But besides the family tradition of Georgian Beets, the bulbous purple root has found its way into other dishes recently. The beetroot burgers were the most recent and by far craziest experiment, but while in New Zealand I was really into baking a divinely moist beetroot chocolate cake or cupcakes (ok maybe those are stranger). The cooked and shredded beetroot added a darker tone to the rich black of the chocolate cake as well as a mild sweet undertone not from the cocoa. It also kept the cake incredibly moist!
Also while in New Zealand, pickled beets were often found on burgers and sandwiches, and spurred my husband and I to make our own pickled beets upon our return to Springfield and then just this past weekend. Well, we don’t pickle our beets per say, we pickle them for the refrigerator. There is no need to sterilize or set aside for a set period to get the perfect pickling flavor. Just whip it up and stick it in the fridge for a day or two and then enjoy! Of course the downside is that they need to be eaten within a few weeks or a month, but that really isn’t a problem for us.
Refrigerator beets are as simple as boiled beets (save some of the water), beet water, vinegar, sugar and then cinnamon and ground cloves (if you want, or garlic is nice too). Boil the beets until tender then drain, but be sure to save some of the water. Take the beet water and vinegar, add the sugar and boil until it is dissolved. Stir in the cinnamon and ground cloves. Finally just add the beets sliced or whole and boil for a bit more (or not). Let cool, pour into a jar and then stick in the fridge. Done! I used 1/3 cup of vinegar (I actually used a mixed of normal and cider only because we didn’t have enough of the one), 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup beet water, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and then I had 4 massive beets I had boiled. It filled a fairly large jar! I would recommend slicing the beets as thinly as possible, mine turned out a bit chunky and were difficult to get out of the jar. The thick slices were the cause of a few purple stains on my clothes….
Pickled beets are great on sandwiches (if you make sure to pat them dry first) and also make a great addition to any salad! The other day my chicken, pumpkin seed, spinach, arugula and pickled beet salad ended up with the chicken being a slightly disturbing magenta, but tasted delicious despite!
Anyway, with all that talk of beets, I think it’s time to find a new recipe featuring them or using them in some creative way. Or to bake the beetroot chocolate cake again. That might not be a bad idea.