Chopped Beets

Reader Contribution by Maryann
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What to do with 10 pounds of beets?

We are on our last few bottles of beet wine and decided we should (or should I say, my husband should) make a five-gallon batch of it this year. I had about four pounds of beets from our garden and obtained another seven from the local farm stand. Wednesday morning I started peeling beets, lots of beets. Even though he does the brewing, I do participate and take care of a good majority of the veggie and fruit prep work. I’m not a complete slacker.

I decided to be lazy and chopped the beets up in the food processor. To make the wine the beets are boiled for about an hour and then the beetroot strained out of the liquid. I don’t like wasting food so as I stared at 10 pounds of chopped beets in the strainers I started thinking what to do with them. I definitely couldn’t throw them out and the hens probably wouldn’t eat them. I could bring them to the pigs at Paul’s but that seemed a waste too.

I decided I could puree and freeze some. Beet puree is a wonderful addition to chocolate cake, it doesn’t impart much taste but makes a very moist cake. I don’t think even I could use up 10 pounds of puree even if I baked chocolate cake for the farm market every week now until November so I decided on about four cups worth. I still needed to do something with the rest. I pulled out the canning books and decided on beetroot relish.

I found a couple of different recipes but the basics were the same beets, onion, red peppers, horseradish, vinegar and sugar. It is early in the season for red peppers but I took a ride up to the farm anyway to see if they had any, they grow a lot of the vegetables in hot houses so I thought there might be a remote chance. No luck, it was too early. They did have a red cabbage though and one of the recipes combined cabbage with the beets so I decided to settle on the cabbage and I’d have to do without the peppers. I pulled out the big pot and made a double batch. It turned out pretty good, reminding me of a cross between pickled beets and sauerkraut, with a sweet and sour taste. I think it will be an interesting hot dog condiment.

I still had about eight cups left and was out of ideas. Fortunately it turned out the hens do like beets so they’ve been snacking on a scoopful for the last few days, and I feel better about not wasting any of the by product of our wine-making adventures.

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