As a frequent salad eater, I sometimes feel the need to zest up my plate of lettuce with pickles, which is just as well really as I have an abundance of home-produced pickled products – try saying that with a mouth full of beetroot!
Pickling is a great way of preserving excess crops in the garden. Isn’t it just the way – you grow something and the crop produces more than you can possibly eat, so you end up giving half of it away, selling it at the roadside, trying out new and freakish recipes or of course pickling it in those jars you saved just for this purpose. I had just this experience with the beetroot we had grown on the Wonderpost allotment – when Rog and I harvested them last week there was more than our two families could possibly eat in a week so of course, out came the vinegar and jars. To pickle beetroot, I simply boil them for about twenty minutes, take off the skin and then dice into a jar. When cool I top up the jar with vinegar and add a few pickling spices and then store in a cool, dark cupboard where the jars get forgotten about!
I first grew a crop of beetroot at college in 1979 and thankfully my skills as a gardener must have developed as this recent crop on the Wonderpost allotment was fantastic – especially those beets harvested from the part of the allotment that had a liberal dose of our fantastic soil improver added to it – Wonderpost definitely increased the size of the beets as you can see from the photo. Of course, we could have grown even larger beets if I had remembered to thin out the seedlings when the seeds had just germinated as this would have enabled the beets to grow even larger. But never mind, as I have enough jars of the stuff to see me through the winter!