I’ve finally started doing my Christmas shopping proper. Bought my nephew and nieces their gifts, ordered gifts for the aunties, and now I’m onto my family.
As two of my siblings (that sounds so formal) have kids, they’re more insistent that we buy for the kids instead of them. We’ll take them a bottle of wine or something anyway, but what everyone seems to have asked for this year is home made gifts.
Maybe it’s a sign of getting older, that we want less – or a sign that we want for less, and appreciate more. Or maybe it’s that we’re all feeling the pinch a bit and it can be a cheaper way to give presents. Whatever the reason, home made gifts have been increasing in popularity over the last couple of years.
In this case, I’ve been asked specifically for two things. The first is a family recipe – my mum’s pickled beetroot. Since she died in 2010 it’s something I’ve started making more often – I made it last year when our boxes from the Veg People were almost continually stocked with beetroot, and occasionally when I miss her a little and want a taste of home. Christmas means I miss her more readily – even now there are things I do over Christmas that remind me of her – the Boxing Day breakfast bubble and squeak tradition for example.
So I’m sharing this one with you, because, well it makes me feel better to share it, it means the recipe isn’t lost, and I don’t think she’d mind at all. It’s deceptively simple, and a real treat for the cheeseboard, or with a rich stew. It’s got a great sweet and sour flavour to it, and is a little bit moreish, even if I say so myself – and made great use of the beetroot I picked up from the South Manchester Food Assembly.
I give you my mum’s pickled beetroot with blackcurrant jelly.
- 1kg Fresh beetroot, uncooked
- 500ml White Vinegar
- 270g (2 packs) Blackcurrant jelly
- Put the beetroot (minus any leaves/stalks) into a large pan, and top with cold water.
- Put on the hob and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, allow to simmer until the beetroot is cooked through.
- To test it's cooked insert a knife, it should just go through.
- Take it off the heat and strain.
- Meantime put the vinegar and jelly into a pan and put on the heat.
- Stir occasionally until it comes to the boil, while you finish the beetroot.
- To peel, run under a cold tap in a colander and rub your hands over the skin. It will come off easily.
- Slice into whatever size pieces you prefer. We like it chunky.
- Pop the beetroot into sterilised jars.
- Pour over the hot pickling liquid so that it completely covers the beetroot.
- Remove any air bubbles by (carefully as it's hot!) tapping the jars, or jiggling them.
- Once the bubbles have gone, put on the lids while they're still hot. This will seal them.
- Leave them to cool.
- Once cool, they want a couple of weeks to mature, so pop them in a dark cupboard til you're ready to gift them!
- If you're concerned about sugar levels, you can just as easily use a sugar free jelly. Also, vegetarian jelly works just as well as the gelatin kind.
Please don’t forget to thoroughly wash and sterilise your jars. There’s an easy how to here.