The plot and the hedgerows are so productive at the moment. It seems about two months too early but the sloes are already plump and juicy. I’ve just had to polish of the last remaining drop of slow gin from last year so that I can re-use the bottles for this year’s vintage. Extraordinarily tasty and potent stuff!
This year we remembered to take carrier bags for a trip around Mitcham Common and have collected enough apples and blackberries for about 30 pies. The trees were almost breaking under the burden of fruit, it’s a shame more people don’t take advantage of the free crops.
Back on the plot we’ve found ourselves overrun with beetroot and I’m in the unusual position of trying to find creative ways to cook and store it.
The Preserves book from the River Cottage Series has a fabulous recipe for sweet beetroot relish. I made slight adjustments, replacing creamed horseradish for the requested home-grown pickled variety and I also cheated with the tomato puree which I couldn’t be bothered to make from scratch. Here is my cheats version:
Sweet Beetroot Relish
1kg Beetroot – roasted at 180’C
150ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
large onion finely chopped
2 tbsp creamed horseradish
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 tbsp tomato puree
Put all the ingredients except for the beetroot into a preserving pan and boil for 5 mins.
Peel and coarsely grate the roasted beetroot. Add this to the mix and cook for another 10 mins.
The juice should be syrupy when ready to transfer to the sterilised jars.
It should last up to a year.