I remember eating beets as a child, but then there seemed to be a long period—several decades long—during which beets fell out of fashion. Hm. Maybe because it was so difficult for our mothers and grandmothers to get the stains out of their white linen tablecloths! But now that beets are known to be chockablock with antioxidants and other good-for-you things, they’re making a comeback.
Here’s an old recipe from my grandmother’s old cook book I told you about last Friday.
6 medium-sized beets
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix sugar and cornstarch, add water and vinegar, and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add butter and salt. Add beets and bring to the boiling point. Serves 6.
My husband is not a fan of Harvard beets, but I actually like the sweet tanginess of the sauce, maybe because it’s a taste of my childhood. In fact, it’s a little like beet relish. Here’s my grandmother’s beet relish recipe that was handwritten inside the back cover of her cook book.
6 cups minced, cooked beet
3 cups minced cabbage
2 cups ground horseradish
2 tablespoons salt
1 quart vinegar
2 cups brown sugar (the amount is hard to read, but I think it says 2)
Mix altogether and bottle when cold.
Scant instructions, but I assume everything is cooked after it’s mixed. I also assume that every good housewife in those days was skilled at bottling. Do you suppose she sealed the bottles in a hot water bath? I suspect she did.
Looking for a more modern way to serve beets? Recently I’ve come across several recipes for beet and blue cheese salad. My family doesn’t like blue cheese but they do like feta, so I tried substituting that. Delicious, and so easy to make.
Beet and Feta Salad
1 small head of leafy green lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups diced cooked beets
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds (or chopped pecans or walnuts)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Layer the lettuce, cheese and nuts on four salad plates. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Serves 4. Like I said, delicious!
Until next time,