Best Beetroot Chutney and the Benefits of Using Glass
In this season of abundance and mellow fruitfulness, my mind very quickly turns to thoughts of preserving. I was just thinking it was about time I made some apple chutney, when a bunch of beautiful beetroot turned up in my veg box. My plans did an about turn and I ended up making the best beetroot chutney ever. As I spooned my finished chutney into jars, I couldn’t help but give thanks for glass.
Glass is my absolute favourite material for food storage. It appeals to my thrifty nature; it’s attractive, reusable and doesn’t leach nasty chemicals into your vittles. When it comes to making jams, pickles or chutneys, it’s unthinkable to use anything else. The preserves shine through the glass and if, like me, you’re not always good at labelling, you can pretty much tell what’s in a glass jar without having to take off the lid and spoil the contents. When I made this beetroot chutney the other day, it never occurred to me to use anything else.
Friends of Glass have this to say on the subject and I couldn’t agree more. “A glass jam jar is a simple, beautiful and practical design that won’t deteriorate no matter how many times it is re-used or recycled. Because glass is inert, the jam jar keeps its contents fresher for longer and when put into the recycling bank, it takes as little as 30 days for it to be returned to the shelf as a new jar – making it a perfect role model for the circular economy.”
When I was young one of my uncles had a bottle washing factory. Way back then, all drinks came in glass bottles, which were washed and re-used again and again. Fizzy drink bottles had a refundable deposit and hunting around in the streets and hedges for bottles was a major earner for us kids. It seems rather sad that this practice faded away, that bottle washing factories went out of business and that so many drinks now come in plastic bottles. Rant over.
Glass jars were first used for preserving foodstuffs in the early 19th Century. Before the invention of the screw top lid, they were sealed with wax. Here’s a rather interesting timeline from Friends of Glass on the development of the glass jar.
The beetroot chutney is easy to make and it keeps for ages. It’s important to use sterilised glass jars when preserving. I wash them well in warm soapy water, then dry them out in a warm oven (150℃) for 15 minutes. If you have a dishwasher, you can run them through that instead. To sterilise the lids, I boil them in water for a few minutes, then leave to dry before sealing the jar’s contents.
My favourite accompaniment to cheese is a good homemade chutney and this beetroot chutney lives up to the best of them. Its earthy tones are livened up with fruity notes and just a hint of spicy cinnamon and warming chilli. I used my own homemade blackcurrant vinegar along with apple cider vinegar to give a fruity flavour, but any fruit vinegar should work.
Fill some pretty glass jars with beetroot chutney and attach an attractive label and you have a unique homemade gift. In my experience, homemade preserves are appreciated far more than something hastily bought online or on the high street. Autumnal chutney makes a particularly good Christmas gift as it has a few months to mature and will taste its best in December and January.
- 600g beetroot - scrubbed, topped & tailed - grated
- 1 large red onion - diced
- 100g golden granulated sugar
- 150ml cider vinegar
- 100ml blackcurrant vinegar (or other fruit vinegar) or 50g more vinegar + 50g sugar + 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 large red chilli - seeds removed and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- good grinding black pepper
- Place all the ingredients in a large pan and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The chutney is ready when the beetroot is cooked and the mixture has thickened.
- Pour into warm sterilised jars. Tap the jars to remove air pockets. Cover with waxed discs, then screw on the lids and label.
- Store in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.
- Best left for at least a month before eating.
- Keep in the fridge once opened.
Other chutney recipes you might like
- Apricot and apple chutney via FarmersgirlKitchen
- Figgy Christmas chutney via The Veg Space
- Katie’s “chuck-it-all-in” chutney via Tinned Tomatoes
- Mixed tomato chutney via Fab Food 4 All
- Pumpkin chutney via The Crafty Larder
- Rhubarb & ginger chutney via Tin and Thyme
- Spiced tomato courgette chutney via Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
Thanks to Friends of Glass for sponsoring this post. I was not expected to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands that help to keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging.