My love of Beets

On the 27th April I sowed beetroot seed directly into a prepared bed.  In the middle of the sowing, I had to leave suddenly and instead of my planned 3 rows, I only planted 2.  I fully intended to finish off the 3rd row but never got round to it.  By the 10th of June I hadn’t even thinned them out!   Lazily I decided to transplant the (mature) thinnings into the 3rd row and even created a 4th row between the 1st and 2nd.  At this stage the root was long and thin with no bulb developing.  They looked pretty limp for a week or so and required a lot of hydro-encouragement but did come back to life and I’m happy to report – doing well!  Even the ones hidden between the 1st and 2nd rows don’t seem to be suffering from lack of light.

After all this neglect the results, surprisingly, are positive for the kitchen!!

The first plants are now very big – some I’ve let grow too big really, but they are good for a relish I make annually – ‘Beet-up’ – ketchup but with beets.  It’s yum and much more nutritious than red sauce ketchup.  Great with cheese, homemade wedges and burgers.  The transplants, on the other hand, are a great size at the moment for every day use, like cooking for salads – bit bigger than a golf ball.  The transplant’s root is completely below ground, which makes me wonder if I’ll have trouble with splitting but so far so good.  The first plants are above ground like normal as you can see in the photo.

Beet 17th July

One from the transplant family

I set about taking the big ones out to use for ketchup.  I had a whole container and spent most of the day cooking, peeling, chopping, sterilising, bottling, cleaning – and being purple!

Off for a beet-athon!

Chopping Beets into 1 cm dice

The recipe is from a really gorgeous cookbook I was given by a Canadian friend – it’s called ‘Fresh’ and Bishop is one of the authors, written by him and a local farmer.  It’s very seasonally themed and I’ve found cause to use many of the really delicious, simple recipes.

Beetroot Ketchup

3 cups cooked beetroot, diced

1 cup sugar

2 cups red wine vinegar

1 large white onion, diced

1 tbsp minced garlic

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until the onion is tender.  Blend in a liquidiser and store in sterilised bottles or jars.  This will keep until you have beets again next year.

When cooking your beets leave at least 1 inch of stalk above the root, just washing enough to remove the dirt.  Any punctures or injuries to the root will result in precious, vivid colour leaking during cooking.

Beet-Up - A healthy kick!

Don’t you love this sign I came across in Balla, Co. Mayo?



3 responses to this post.

  1. Deer ate my first round of beets, but look forward to trying this recipe. It looks heavenly in the jars, too!


  2. Posted by Lisa Maloney on August 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Great photo of the hairdressers!!


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