In my opinion, Beetroot is the best root vegetable to grow. Its very forgiving (you can sow it badly and it still crops well), it doesn’t need a lot of looking after, grows well, can be stored in a number of different ways and can be eaten in a number of different ways as well.
This year we have only grown Boltardy which is a pretty common variety, in previous years we have grown cylindrical and striped varieties but, for taste, we always come back to this one.
We sowed it in succession over a number of weeks through late April and then sowed some in modules that we planted out later. Finally we have sown some additional seeds where we’ve taken out the onions.
When sowing beetroot, its important to remember that each “seed” is in fact a number of small seeds and multiple plants will grow from each position so they should be sown a couple of inches apart to give them space to grow. However, once they are growing its a good idea to thin them out so that the individual beet can have enough space to grow to the size that you want. (We try to keep them reasonably small, no more than 2-3 inches in diameter.
Then they can be cooked (pressure cooker is best) and eaten cold with salads, or hot with white sauce or they can be pickled. Here is my favourite pickling recipe:
- Enough cooked & peeled beetroot – depending upon how big they are about 2kg;
- 300ml beetroot cooking liquor;
- 350ml Wine Vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp dry mustard
- 0.5tsp salt
- 250gms sugar
- Onions (optional)
In a saucepan, bring the cooking liquor and wine vinegar up to boiling point then add the sugar, mustard and salt, stir and bring back to the boil and then remove from the heat and set aside.
Put the beetroot into the jars. If you are adding onions, arrange the sliced beetroot and onions in alternate layers.
Cover with the hot vinegar mixture and screw the tops on tightly.
Store in the fridge. They will be ready after a couple of days. The pickled beetroot have to be kept in the fridge because the vinegar mixture is more for flavour than preserving but they will keep for 12 months in the fridge (if they last that long).