Beetroot & Date Chutney

When I was living abroad I came back to visit Australia on a few occasions and every time I would get some of my mum’s chutney (usually tomato) to take back with me.  Fortunately I didn’t ever have any breakages en route.

I love chutney, all kinds but in this case I mean a preserve made with vinegar and sugar which has been cooked down into a deliciously sweet savory concoction.  I think its that combination; of vinegar and sugar that makes chutney so fabulously addictive to my palate.  Of course the word chutney is originally an Indian word and it is from there that the concept of chutney was originally born.  Having said that in my experience chutney in India often meant a fresh chutney made to eat that day although the other types are also common.  Todays post is about a preserve which wont be ready to eat for the next 6-8 weeks at least.

I have harvested quite a few of both my own and my fathers beetroot in the last few weeks and I am a bit beetrooted out when it comes to salads and side dishes hence the desire to preserve some.  Well that and the fact that my 5 year old is a big fan of beetroot chutney.  Last time I made this I made it with sultanas but this time I used dates.   I was reading an Eastern European cookbook at the library which included a recipe for a dip made from beetroot and dates, so if a dip why not a chutney or so the logic went… if you don’t like or want to use dates just replace them with the same weight of either sultanas or raisins (you may also want to reduce the vinegar quantity slightly as I find dates sweeter than sultanas or raisins).  Because this chutney needs 6-8 weeks to mellow in the jar I have to admit to not having tried it in the state it will be served in.  However the sultana form was delicious and it tasted good during the cooking so I don’t see why it won’t taste great in a couple of months.  This is a fairly sweet chutney.

 Beetroot & Date Chutney (This makes about 1.5 litres of chutney, or in my case 5 jars.)

  • 650g of beetroot – or thereabouts.
  • 250g of onions – chopped into small dice
  • 650ml apple cider vinegar
  • 200g apples (preferably cooking apples but any you have available should be fine) – peeled and cut into small dice
  • 225g dates – chopped
  • 1 tblspn ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • about 450g sugar (you may need a bit less if you use sweet apples, have very sweet beetroot or like your chutneys a little less sweet)

First cook the beetroot.  I usually roast mine – wrap whole washed (but not peeled) beetroot  in foil and place on an oven tray in a 200 degree oven for about an hour (depending on the size of the beetroot).  Test with a fork, for chutney I cook them until they are the fork goes in really easily.  Remove from oven but leave in their wrappers to cool a bit – this will let them steam and make it easier to remove their skins.  The skin should pretty much rub off them, although occasionally I do have to help it along a bit.

Once the beetroot is cooked and peeled, cut it into small dice.  By small dice I mean about 2-3mm square cubes (or thereabouts).  Set aside.

Place the onion and half the vinegar in a saucepan (or preserving pan), bring to the boil then simmer for about 5 minutes or so until the onion starts to soften.  Add the apple & dates and continue cooking until the apple starts to soften.  Add beetroot, ginger, chilli & salt with half the remaining vinegar.  Simmer gently until it thickens.  Add the remaining vinegar with the sugar, continue cooking until it thickens again.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal.  It should be ready to eat in a couple of months.

I’m sharing this recipe as part of Thursday’s Kitchen Cupboard over at the Garden of Eden.  Head over and check out what everyone else has preserved.

P.S: 02/01/2012 – We just opened the first jar of this chutney – the verdict: sweet but delicious.   Definitely worth making again.

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16 Responses to Beetroot & Date Chutney

  1. Dave says:

    Another interesting use for beets! I do like chutneys too. I am planning on making some with green tomatoes later this week.

    • Liz says:

      I have never made a green tomato pickle – because we dont have frost my plants tend to succumb to disease rather than the cold and so I am rarely left with much in the way of green tomatoes as a result. Mum & Dad are though so I will make an effort to raid their stash next Autumn.

  2. Jo says:

    That sounds delicious… beets and dates yum!!!
    I found your blog this past week and have been inspired to start my own! Great veggie photography btw 🙂

  3. Considering my beetroots are actually looking pretty good so far, I’ll have to come back and try this recipe out in a couple of months. Make sure you post an update once you get the chance to taste this. I LOVE dates.

  4. Kirsty says:

    wish my beets looked as good as yours, they’re starting to bolt and are pretty little and all leaf. Would love to be dealing with a glut, this sounds delicious.

    • Liz says:

      I do find that beetroot seems to bolt in Spring regardless of their size – I’ve had tiny ones sown at the end of winter bolt. I think its about sowing them early enough to ensure they reach a reasonable size before Spring comes. My dad’s seem to bolt at the same time as mine, despite his place being considerably cooler (Macedon type climate) so I think its related to day length rather than temperature. I sowed mine in mid April so they’ve been in the ground a fair while.

  5. Jody says:

    What a great idea! Around here Belle and little C. James are the beet eaters. She’ll really appreciate another great way to use them.

  6. Mike says:

    I love beets and this is such a great idea to use them. They’re also such an healthy veggie people should consider integrating them more in their eating regimen!

    Peace
    Mike

    • Liz says:

      I think growing your own makes you eat a wider variety of veg than if you simply shop for veg – I seem far more likely to try new things by growing them myself rather than simply buying them at the shop.

      • Mike says:

        That’s a really good point however when you live in a city you don’t have this option…
        I think that people should be a little bit more brave and curious and try new things instead of sticking to their same eating habits.

        Peace
        Mike

        • Liz says:

          I absolutely agree about people eating more widely, particularly if it means they embrace beetroot…I do think that even in the city people can grow something – although for some that may just mean a pots of herbs – parsley is amazingly good for you too.

  7. JohannaGGG says:

    I love chutneys too – am just finishing off some apricot chutney from the start of the year and thinking it might almost be time for more – I also make a beetroot and orange chutney this year (I think) which was very sweet and took me a while to come around to it but I ended up loving it – so I love the idea of beetroot and date

    • Liz says:

      Coincidently I have just been making beetroot and orange jam today and was about to write a post on it when I noticed your comment. A bit spooky really…..I do like the flavour though.

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