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Those who’ve read my blog before will know I have a passion for growing and eating beetroot. This, alongside a passion for making pickles & chutneys and a passionate distaste for the excess of Christmas, can, on occasion, happily coincide in the form of Beetroot Relish. And not just any Beetroot Relish. No, I believe this to be the best Beetroot Relish recipe in the world. Others who have sampled it concur, and this is why I am posting it here – to share some joy at a time when not a lot of the stuff is going ’round.

Beets pickedThe first time I managed to grow enough beetroots to make relish, I ploughed through recipes in books and on the web, searching for a combination of ingredients that satisfied my sense of what works well with beetroot. In the end, I mixed up a few recipes, creating something I can possibly claim as my own invention, yet I’m sure it’s repeated out there somewhere, so it’s not really mine. The other thing about this recipe is, you can always add more or less of the spices, or something different to taste. It’s foolproof really; as long as you get your volume of vinegar to weight of beetroot right, nothing can go wrong (unless you burn it, which would be truly devastating).

The Best Beetroot Relish Recipe in the World


  • 6 large beetroots, grated (I use a food processor to grate the beets)
  • 2 brown onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar*
  • Approx 1 cup water
  • 4 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 tsp horseradish relish
  • 5 – 6 large strips orange rind
  • Olive oil
  • *Weigh the beetroot before grating. Make sure that the amount of vinegar used is at least a third of the weight of the beets, to ensure preservation. I’m always liberal with the vinegars, just in case.


  1. Heat about 2 tblsp olive oil in a heavy based saucepan, adding the mustard seeds and stirring until they pop.
  2. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the remaining spices and cook until fragrant.
  4. Then add the sugars and stir over low to medium heat until dissolved.
  5. Add the beetroot, horseradish and orange peel, stirring to combine.
  6. Pour in the vinegars and water (I rarely use water, preferring more vinegar instead), covering the beetroot mix.
  7. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for up to two hours, stirring regularly. To avoid burning, use a stove mat under the saucepan.
  8. In the meantime, sterilise your jars in a 150 degree oven. Depending on the size of the beetroots, you’ll get between 5 – 8 jars. Two and a half kilos of beetroot, for example, makes about 10 x 250ml jars, and you can multiply the other ingredients accordingly.
  9. You’ll know when the relish is done, as it will have reduced to a glorious, dark purple colour and most of the liquid will have cooked off. I always leave a bit of liquid; again, to ensure there’s enough vinegar for preservation.
  10. Remove the strips of orange peel, pour the relish into the sterilised jars, then seal.

Beetroot Relish

Here’s the batch I made from my homegrown beets last week – only five precious jars, from about 1kg of beetroot, so it is a labour of love. But they’re perched amongst the next round of beetroot, which grow remarkably quickly at this time of year, and this means more relish or more pickled beets, or more beetroot in general, just around the corner. And so, the beet goes on …

What a shame Cher had all that work done; she was completely gorgeous just as she was. (But where the hell are they and what’s with the cow?)