Root veggies are the best! They're easy to grow, pretty much moose-proof, and easy to preserve and process. It's amazing to me that there are already ripe beets this year, but I guess with the warm weather we've been having, I shouldn't be too surprised.
Beet girl and the best garden helper around!
This simple relish is one of my pantry staples. It's great on almost any kind of sandwich and tasty as a side-dish with roasted chicken (or really anything). If you're a true beet-lover like me, you may even find yourself grabbing a spoon and gobbling it right out of the jar!
No, he's not watching the beets grow. This bug-lover has his eye on that little ladybug larva!
This recipe makes 16-20 half pints depending on the size of the tomatoes and beets. Of course, it can be halved, doubled, etc.
10 lbs. beets
10 lbs. tomatoes
3 medium onions
3-5 large cloves garlic
2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar or honey
3-6 T avocado oil
3 T mustard seeds
sea salt to taste
After pulling the beets out of the ground, chop off the tops and save them to stir fry or use in place of spinach or basil in pesto. (You can easily freeze the beet-green pesto in ice cube trays or Ziplock bags). Then, soak the beets for a few hours or overnight in the sink or bathtub to loosen the dirt and save yourself time on scrubbing. Once your beets are clean, you are ready to start relishing!
Preheat the oven to 400 and rinse the beets and tomatoes. Trim off the ends of the beets.
Halve the beets and tomatoes and place them facedown on cookie sheets greased with avocado oil. Splash them with about 2 T of balsamic and sprinkle them with sea salt.
Roast the beets for 45-60 minutes, until caramelized and a little bit brown.
The trays will need time to cool. It's best if you can leave them for a few hours or overnight. Then, peel the skin off the beets and feed it to your neighborhood chickens.
As you wait, you can prepare your jars. Quickly check over them for any nicks, cracks, or sharp edges; examine the screw bands for dents or rust. You only want to use the jars, lids, and screw bands that are in perfect condition so that an airtight seal can be obtained.
Next, prepare the jars by running them through the dishwasher. Keep the door shut as you work on the relish so that the jars stay warm. If you don’t have a dishwasher or don’t want to use it, sterilize them in hot water instead.
Once the beets and tomatoes have cooled and been peeled, it's time to start on the relish. Chop the garlic and onions and saute them in avocado oil in a heavy sauce pan.
As they cook, puree the roasted tomatoes. As the onions begin to caramelize, add the tomato puree, balsamic, sugar, and mustard seed.
Allow this all to simmer for 3-5 minutes while you rough chop the beets.
Then, pop those in, too.
Turn the heat on low and ladle the relish into the warm jars. Use a rubber spatula to remove air bubbles, and clean the rims with a damp cloth. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on.
Now it is time to seal the jars. Fill a large pot with water (I use my pressure canner). Stack the jars on top of the rack. Bring the water to a boil. Please note that this takes awhile! Plan on being home at least an hour. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, start the timer for 10 minutes processing time. Once the jars are done processing, turn off the burner and wait for them to cool.
After you remove your jars from the water, wait 12-24 hours to check the seals, as the sealing process will continue even after you have turned off the burner. If after 12-24 hours you have a jar or two that have not sealed, you can refrigerate and eat those first, or you can reprocess them so that they do seal. Enjoy your tasty treat!