For the last year or so, I have been trying really hard to encourage wildlife into my allotment. I have two small ponds and I was hoping it would encourage frogs to eat the slugs and snails.
Today I have proof that it is working:
At the allotment today, I concentrated on cutting back my summer raspberries. I removed the old fruiting stems and tied in the new stems
I also cut back my blackberries as they had grown so quickly and I was finding it hard to reach the fruit on them.
The raspberries and blackberries look a lot neater now.
I pickled some of the beetroot that I picked yesterday. It’s really easy to pickle beetroot and it tastes delicious:
First twist the leaf stalks off the beetroot, leaving approximately one inch of the stalks. By twisting it rather than cutting it, the beetroot will bleed less.
Wash the beetroot under a cold tap.
Put the beetroot in a large pan of boiling water, ensuring it is covered in water. Top up the water if necessary during the cooking process.
The beetroot will take some time to cook. Check if it’s cooked by inserting a knife into it.
When it is cooked, put on a pair of washing up gloves and take out a beetroot with a fork and then rub it with your gloves under a cold tap and as if by magic, all the skin will rub off easily.
Slice and put into sterilised jars
(To sterilise put jars in an oven, gas mark 4 for 5 minutes)
Top with cold ready spiced vinegar.
Put the tops on the jars and label.
Interesting information about beetroot:
Beetroot, botanically known as Beta vulgaris, evolved from wild seabeet, which is a native of coastlines from India to Britain and is the ancestor of all cultivated forms of beet.
The medicinal properties of the root were more important in early times than just eating it. It was used to treat a range of ailments including fevers, constipation, wounds and various skin problems.
The early roots were long and thin like a carrot. The shape of root we are familiar with today was not developed until the sixteenth century and didn’t become widely popular in Central and Eastern Europe until 200 years later. Many classic beetroot dishes originated in this region including the famous beetroot soup, known as borscht.
In victorian times the its dramatic colour was used to brightened up salads and soups. It was also used as a sweet ingredient in cakes and puddings. The victorians even used the plants as decorative bedding, because of their attractive green leaves. At this time, beetroot was still mainly grown as a winter root vegetable.
After World War II, pickled beetroot in jars was the most widely available form of the vegetable however, the vinegars were strong and harsh and put many people off it.
Nowadays, there are three main types of beetroot, Globe, Long–rooted (can be upto a foot long) and intermediate, sometimes called “tankard” because of the shape.
The variety I have grown is called ‘Boltardy’ which is good for early sowing, due to its resistance to bolting .This is a tried and tested variety, with an excellent sweet flavour, smooth skin and deep red tender flesh.
As well as pickling beetroot, I use the young leaves of beetroots in salads as they add colour and I use cooked beetroot in cakes.
Here’s the link to the Chocolate beetroot cake I make:
I hope you have enjoyed reading my post today.