I find the sweet earthy intensity of beetroot hard to deal with. In fact, most sweet vegetables do my head in nowadays unless they’re steeped in a hefty amount of vinegar and spice. So here we are.
This will give you a result a mile away from those astringent crinkle cut slices that strip the tongue. The flavour is fairly sweet for a pickle, with a perfumed note from the hibiscus flowers – my new favourite ingredient since making this BBQ lamb leg – and a smoky buzz from the chillies.
I created this recipe for Rix Media to promote their monthly competition.
Beetroot Pickled with Chilli and Hibiscus Recipe
1 kg beetroot, roughly similar in size if possible
300ml white vinegar
200g caster sugar
12 hibiscus flowers
2 ancho chillies
2 bay leaves
2 allspice berries
1 teaspoon salt
Simmer the beetroots until just tender, then drain and set aside to cool a little before peeling and cutting into pieces that will fit easily into the jar. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, hibiscus flowers, ancho chillies, bay leaves, allspice berries, salt and 200ml water. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.
Pack the beetroot into sterilised jars and try to divide the hibiscus flowers, bay leaves and chillies evenly between the jars, then pour over the liquid and seal. Leave for at least a few weeks before eating.
Edit: I’ve just eaten these after 6 months and they taste better than ever!