Beetroot slaw, relish, chutney – some like it hot!

We were out today and I saw on a menu beetroot slaw; now I love beetroot and I love coleslaw and I can’t believe I never thought of making a combination of the two! The BBC Good Food page says to peel and grate beetroot and carrot and add sliced spring onions, cashew or peanuts and make a dressing of yogurt, honey, chilli and ginger. Another recipe is carrots and beetroot but with garlic, pine-nuts, raisins, herbs and olive oil and vinegar. I guess you could make it simply as you would coleslaw with carrots, onion, mayonnaise and seasoning. There was another item on the menu which was served with beetroot relish, and again I wondered why I’d never made any.

Here are two recipes from my copy of the old W.I Unusual Preserves booklet:

Russian Beetroot Relish

  • 1 lb beetroot, peeled, boiled, shredded
  • ½ lb horseradish, washed and grated
  • ¼ lb sugar (it doesn’t specify white or brown)
  • ½ pint white wine or cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  1. mix everything very thoroughly;
  2. ready for immediate use and will keep for about a month

I like the idea of combining horseradish with the beetroot – but half a pound?????? Crumbs, that would be hot stuff! I think I would use commercially made horseradish sauce – it might not be authentically Russian but it might be edible!

Beetroot Chutney

  • 1½ lb beetroot (avoid earthy tasting beetroot) peeled, boiled, chopped
  • 1 lb apples, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1½ lb onions, peeled, chopped
  • 1 lb sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger – if desired
  • 1 pint vinegar
  1. boil the apples and onions in half the vinegar until tender
  2. add the beetroot, sugar, salt and ginger and the rest of the vinegar and boil for about half an hour, stirring well
  3. allow to cool and pot in the usual way
  4. if ginger is not used, slightly more sugar may be added, about half an ounce

The trouble with this recipe is that it doesn’t specify the type of apple – cooking apples would reduce to softness, eating apples would remain chunky even though soft. Another thing with this – clearly a family recipe – how can you tell whether the beetroot is going to be earthy until you cook it and try it? I think most problems with earthy tasting beetroots are that they are boiled unpeeled. I always peel mine before cooking! Also (since I am being a little critical) I don’t think half a teaspoon of ground ginger would make any impact on the flavour, in among the four pounds of fruit and veg, pound of sugar and pint of vinegar!

I’m going to try various slaws, not quite so sure about the chutney and relish!

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