I have a wonderful collection of old cookbooks from my grandma’s, great grandma’s and great great grandma’s. In one of my cookbooks is a beet relish recipe I adapted last winter and changed the yield to a smaller amount (who needs several quarts of beet relish—seriously?).
The relish can be used any way you’d use any other relish—on hot dogs and sausages, spread over sandwiches (or a melt) or topped on a cheeseburger.
Yield: 3 pints or 6 (8-ounce) jelly jars
- 2 lbs. fresh beets, medium in size (about 9)
- 1/2 lb. yellow onions (2-3 onions)
- ½ lb. red bell peppers (about 2-3)
- 1 tsp. pickling spice mix (wrapped in cheesecloth or tea infuser)
- 1.5 cups 5-percent distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. canning salt
Wash and prep produce. Be sure to scrub the beets clean and remove the stem.
To remove the skin from the beets, place them in a pot of water and bring them to a boil. Cook beets until they are tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and allow to cool.
Once beets are cooled enough to handle, trim off the root-end and use your hands to break the outer layer of the skin. Use your thumbs to rub away the skin.
Removing the skin can become a messy job. I recommend having a bowl for the discarded skins and another dish for the peeled beets. I personally do this over a large cutting board to collect any juices. It will look as if you dyed your hands bright pink, but it easily washes off with soapy water.
Once peeled use a food processor, with the grater blade, to grate beets, onions and bell peppers.
In a medium-sized non-reactive pot, combine the brine ingredients. Heat the brine and stir until the salt has dissolved.
Strain the beet mixture and add the vegetables to the brine. Add in the pickling spice mix. Heat to a simmer and cook 15 minutes until the peppers and onions are tender. Stir occasionally.
Remove spice mix and ladle the relish into warm prepared jars (canning jars washed with warm soapy water and kept warm until filling). Add washed lids and tighten on the rings. Once cooled, transfer to the refrigerator and use within two months.
If Water Bath Canning
Ladle the relish mixture into warm prepared jars (canning jars washed with warm soapy water and kept warm until filling). Leave a 1/2 inch headspace (room from the relish to the rim of the jar).
Use a clean, dampened, lint-free towel or paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars clean, removing any spillage. Place the canning jar lids on the jars and screw on the rings until they are gently snug (not fully tightened). Lower the jars into a hot water bath, and cover the pot with the lid.
Turn up the heat to high and, once the canner reaches a rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes. Adjust cook time for altitude as needed.
Once water bath processed, carefully remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel-lined surface for 12 hours without touching. After 12 hours, remove the rings and test that the lids are completely suctioned to the jar.
Label and date jars. These preserved jars of relish will keep for at least one year in the cupboard. Refrigerate after breaking the seal.
If you don’t have access to a food processor, finely dice all the produce instead.
Feel free to use apple cider vinegar in place of the white distilled vinegar in this recipe.
Consider adding in some ground horseradish root to this recipe during the simmer. However, be aware that the horseradish flavor will dramatically decrease due to the high heat. If skipping the canning process, stir in the horseradish once cooled, before refrigerating.
Add some kick to this by adding in 1 tsp. (or more) cayenne pepper. Stir in ground cayenne pepper when you pour in the vegetables into the brine. Taste test to determine if you want to add more.