You don’t always need special pickling vinegar when preserving – in fact quite often good old malt vinegar will do the job very well. Pickling beetroot in malt vinegar makes the most of your harvest and tastes great with salads or in sandwiches all year round.
Pickled beetroot in malt vinegar recipe
- 1.5kg fresh beetroot
- 2.5cm of cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole allspice
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 litre distilled malt vinegar
Prepare the spiced vinegar the day before by adding the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, mustard seeds, allspice, bay leaves and sugar into a pan with 300ml of the vinegar. Heat gently until the mixture comes to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to cool, covered, overnight.
The next day wash the beetroot carefully to avoid rubbing away any skin. Place the beets into a large saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 1-2 hours, until they start to become tender. Drain and allow to cool until you can handle them. The rest of the vinegar can now be added to the spiced mixture you made the day before.
Rub away the skin of the beetroot and cut the root into 1 cm slices. Pack into clean, sterilised jars then pour over the vinegar mixture to reach the top of the jars and cover the beetroot slices. Cover and seal the jars and label. Store in a cool, dark place for a week to allow the flavours to develop before you eat the beetroot, which will keep for up to three months unopened.
Using beetroot in malt vinegar
Picked beetroot makes a great addition to a Ploughman’s Lunch. Originally a lump of bread, a piece of cheese and an apple, the traditional Ploughman’s has evolved into something distinctly more sophisticated. Make sure you provide some fresh, crusty bread in a chunky piece. Two or three different cheeses is ideal, one of which should be a rich cheddar, and accompanies by a robust ham – no thinly sliced rubbish here. With these basic ingredients in place, a Ploughman’s can then be turned into something quite special with the addition of some pickles. Pickled onions are non-negotiable, while the bold colour and tart sweetness of pickled beetroot complements the robustness of the other ingredients perfectly. A sliced apple or celery, a portion of coleslaw and a dab of mustard or chutney are optional extras.