Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Harvard Beets

I've never grown beets because I'm not so super excited about them in the winter when I'm planning my garden.  They keep finding their way into my house though!  Last year, it was through one of the community gardens I was involved in and this year my mom didn't feel like processing them when they needed to be taken care of them.  I'm so glad too, since I recently started regretting not having planted any!  These Harvard beets are so rich and delicious that I am fantasizing about eating them (specifically, I'm dreaming of roasted chicken and baked sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar on top to complement them!)!  I made myself freeze them for eating later rather than eating them now, largely so I'll remember to plant beets next year (although if the trailer park does end up with a community garden I'm in charge of, I'd probably not have to worry about remembering I want beets for me, since that seems like it would be a good thing for the community garden).

A lot of recipes I've seen for beets assume you know how to get them from the garden to "8 cups sliced", but I'm not going to assume any such thing.  This recipe takes you from when you get into the house with your freshly pulled beets to the freezer or table, whichever you prefer.  Really, you could use apple cider vinegar without the mother, but the good ACV contains the mother (which is actually a kind of floaty that is supposed to be there, so don't get freaked out), so you are better off getting that kind.

Harvard Beets

2 1/2 pounds beets (about a dozen, or 8 cups once cooked, peeled & sliced)
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup apple cider vinegar with the mother
1 cup water
1 cup honey
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Cut off beet tops, leaving about an 1inch, and wash.   Heat a large pot of water with white vinegar in it to boiling.  Add beets.  Cover and return to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until tender.  Drain and run cold water over beets.  Slip off skins and remove root ends.  Slice.

In the large pot,  stir together cornstarch, salt, apple cider vinegar, and water until smooth.  Place over low heat.  Stir in honey and cloves.  Boil five minutes, until mixture is no longer cloudy.  Add beets.

Package in freezer containers for freezing, or add 1 tbsp of butter (optional) per cup of beets and heat through to serve immediately.  To serve after freezing, add butter (optional) and simmer for about 20 minutes.


  1. Just a note: because of both the honey and the vinegar, this recipe is suitable for canning in a hot water bath. It is plenty acidic enough, and the honey also is a preventer of Bad Things. ;) I've made Harvard Beets a number of times, though I like mine cubed rather than sliced. That's just me, though. ;)

  2. Huh. I hadn't thought of that (probably because I just got my canner!). I wonder how that would impact the flavor, or if it would.

  3. Personally, I think the flavor is *better* when it's canned. It has a chance to settle and mellow. Besides, there's nothing quite like opening that up in January (my birthday is the 26th) and serving it up, knowing it came out of MY garden. :)