Preserve Your Beet Harvest with Beet Relish

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We had a fantastic beet harvest this year from our home garden.

We wanted to try something new with them so I spent some time hunting through Grandma’s cookbook to find a way to use some up.

With a little searching I found my grandmother’s handwritten beet relish recipe that she had tucked into her 1931 Successful Farming Cookbook. Her recipe was very simple – beets, horseradish, cabbage, onion, vinegar, salt and sugar. My mom said she didn’t remember having them as a child, and she sent to me the beet relish recipe from the Ball canning book. I decided to use Grandma’s recipe with a few tweaks from the Ball book.

Most of the ingredients were homegrown. The beets and the red pepper came from our garden. The cabbage was given to us by a gardening neighbor. Finding horseradish turned out to be a bit of a project. I scoured a farmer’s market and two grocery stores without success. Finally at the local food co-op, the produce manager found some in the back, apparently they sell so little they don’t display it. Lesson learned, next year we’ll be growing our own horseradish!

Beet relish is easy to make and has a sweet, spicy, tart flavor. It tastes very little like beets, which means people (like me) who are just so-so on beets find it delicious! It looks beautiful on the shelf, too! I think you’ll find it a great addition to your holiday table and to canning cellar.

Ready to get started? Here’s how we made it:

Beet Relish

1½ quarts chopped beets

1 quart chopped cabbage

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped sweet red pepper

½ cup (overflowing) chopped fresh horseradish

3 cups white vinegar

1½ cups sugar

1 tablespoon pickling salt

Prepare your water bath canner. Make sure your jars and lids are clean and put your lids in a small bowl of warm (not boiling) water. Your jars should be in simmering water to keep them hot.

Heat vinegar, salt, and sugar on stove. Meanwhile, chop beets, cabbage, onions, pepper, and horseradish. (You can use your Cuisinart to save time.) Add all to your mixture on the stove; simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.

Remove your hot canning jars from the waterbath and ladle the relish into the jars. Leave about ½ inch headspace. Place lids and rings on jars and place jars in your boiling water bath. Boil in the canner for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cover and let canner sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars and place on a towel. Let sit for about 24 hours. Our yield was the equivalent of 7 pints.