Sweet Beet Preserve

Beets are the most Jewish of vegetables, since they feature in the cooking of almost every community. The tops are used as greens, and the red root for coloring and flavoring a wide variety of dishes. This delicious relish is, like most European beet products, associated with Passover. Make it about 3 months before the festival, so the pickle has time to mature.


4 pounds fresh beets
2 1/2 quarts water
7 cups sugar
juice of 6 lemons
2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds


1. Place the beets in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Reduce heat and cook beets for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain well.

3. Peel the beets and slice into matchstick strips or grate them on a coarse grater.

4. Put beet slivers into a large enamel or stainless-steel pot with the water, sugar, lemon juice, and ginger root. Stir well with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved, and bring to a boil over high heat.

5. Reduce the heat slightly and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil for 2 hours or until the mixture is thick.

6. Add the nuts to the beets. Stir well, and cook for 15 minutes.

7. Begin testing for doneness by dropping a little of the mixture onto a cold saucer, if it starts to jell, mixture is ready.

8. Wash and sterilize eight 1 quart canning jars, rings, and new lids.

9. Fill them with the preserve to within 1/2 inch of the top.

10. Put the jars in a water bath, and bring the water to a boil.

11. Process 30 minutes, then cool. Store in a cool, dark place.

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