Isn't it gorgeous. All home-grown, home pickled and patiently waiting to be served on a gray and cloudy autumnal day with some cheese, crusty bread and an apple. A quality ploughmans lunch.
This year I grew pink chioggia beetroot, pale and stripy like a tea towel as they come out the ground, turning a rosy sunset shade as they pickle in the jar.
Larger beets could be sliced thinly but I already cooked all mine or made them into soups and salads so only undersized babies remain in the soil. These I quartered, baked then pickled in spiced vinegar. Roasting the beetroot in the oven instead of the more common boiling allows it to retain its sweetness and rich colour.
They taste sweet and spicy after just one week but should really be left at least a month before opening.
1 kg fresh raw beetroot
1l white vinegar
4 heaped tbsp granulated sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp black peppercorns
Wash the beets, taking care not to pierce the skin while you handle them. Wrap them in tinfoil and bake in the oven until tender.(Baby beetroots took around 30 minutes, larger ones longer). Allow to cool then peel and quarter or slice thinly. (Next time I might try chopping larger ones into little batons, they might be easier to eat than big slices)
Put the vinegar into a saucepan, add the sugar, cinnamon and peppercorns. Stud the tangerine with cloves and float in the vinegar. Bring almost to the boil and turn off the heat to allow the spice flavours to permeate the vinegar. Put the beetroot into sterilised jars then cover with the hot spiced vinegar. Seal and leave for at least a month. (If you can bear to)