Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beet Relish

I had gotten a lot of extra beets before Christmas thinking I would use them at one of our various meals.  A week later and I still haven't used them so I thought I would try making some relish.  My canning skills aren't the best and most of the time I don't know what to do with the product once it's made, so I wasn't completely sure I wanted to make the relish.  But I decided it was better to make the relish than just throw the beets away in a couple of weeks.  This was a very easy recipe without a lot of room for error, unlike jams or jellies which I find very easy to mess up.  The relish is simply beets, onion and pepper cooked in vinegar and horseradish.  The recipe called for fresh horseradish,  I didn't have any and didn't feel like going to the store, so I used jarred and it was still very yummy.  I am very happy with the finished product, it has a nice bite and a slight tang, but the sweetness of the beets is still evident.  Now I just need to figure out how to use and serve the relish.  Serve it as a side?  Add it to a dish?  I just don't know, any suggestions?
Beet Relish with Horseradish (from Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving)
5 medium Beets (about 1 lb)
1 large Onion, finely chopped
2 Sweet Red Peppers, finely chopped
1 c. White Vinegar
1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Pickling Salt
2/3 c. Grated Fresh Horseradish (or 1 1/4 c. prepared/jarred horseradish)

Cook beets in boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain beets, remove skins and chop finely, there should be about 2 cups.  Combine beets with onion and peppers.  In a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan combine vinegar, sugar, salt and horseradish.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Add vegetables, return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ladle relish into hot jars within 1/2 inch of rim.  Add lids and screw tops. Process 1/2 pint jars for 15 minutes, process pint jars for 20 minutes.

When you are done and are looking for something to do with your kids, or if you just want to play,  use the beet juice to do some natural tie-dying.  Save water you boiled the beets in, gather up some scraps of fabric or old white shirts and have fun! I haven't done this with the three monkeys yet, but am hoping to do it later in the week and then use the fabric as decorative toppings for the jars - hmmm, I think I need to keep this in mind next year when I am struggling to come up with Christmas gifts.

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