Pickling seasonal vegetables is a great way to prolong the season and heighten the flavour of fresh produce. Beetroot is at its best from July to October, so try this recipe when you get the chance
- Serves: 2 persons
- 1kg beetroots
- 600ml red wine vinegar, plus 2 tbsp
- thyme, a few sprigs
- 1tbsp coriander seeds
- 1tbsp cumin seeds
- 2tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1tbsp dried chilli flakes
- 400g caster sugar
Step 1Put the beetroots into a large pan and pour over enough just-boiled water to cover. Add 2 tbsp of vinegar and a large pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the beetroots are really tender. Remove from the pan, reserving the cooking liquid, and allow to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, peel and cut into ½cm slices or, if small, quarter or half.
Step 2When making any pickle, jam or preserve, it’s important to sterilise the jars thoroughly. Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Wash the jars and lids really well in hot, soapy water and rinse well but don’t dry. Put onto a tray and into the oven for 10 minutes, until piping hot, then remove. Once the jars have cooled, tightly pack in the beetroot slices so that they fit snugly and add a couple of thyme sprigs to each jar.
Step 3Tip the coriander, cumin, peppercorns and chilli into a pan and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Pour in 600ml of vinegar, the sugar, ½ tsp of fine sea salt and 200ml of the beetroot cooking liquid. Heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour into a large jug, then pour over enough of the pickling liquid to fill the jars and fully submerge the beetroots. Put on the lids and leave for at least a week, though it will be perfect if left for a month.