old fashioned ‘sweet and sour’ harvard beets – time to go

OLD FASHIONED SWEET AND SOUR HARVARD BEETS are a holiday staple at my family’s table. A humble root vegetable turned into a vegetable sweet tart. The candy not the pastry. I try to use as many newly harvested vegetables as I can to pay homage to the land’s bounty. For those of you not from Canada, it’s our Thanksgiving this weekend. It stands to reason, with our shorter growing season, that our harvest would be celebrated earlier than the United States. The strange thing is our weather is still beautifully warm.  Usually by this time of year, our gardens have been tucked in for the winter. The vegetable garden would be tilled under and top dressed with composted manure. The flower gardens would be weeded, cut back, tagged and covered with fir boughs. Instead, Ralph mowed the lawns around the farmhouse last weekend. Everything is late. Which suits me fine, given that I’ve been away for three weeks.

Three glorious, beautiful weeks with my daughter, son-in-law and their brand new baby boy, Coen. Sunday morning, Ralph and I will fly back east. My job here is done. Meg, Theo and the baby are thriving. I feel a little like Mary Poppins; now that the winds have changed, I’m off.

Our last meal together will be Saturday. We’ll enjoy a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving dinner. Along with a roasted turkey stuffed with potato, bread and sage stuffing, I’ll serve mashed potatoes, baked squash, carrot and turnip julienne, Brussel sprouts au gratin, Harvard beets, pumpkin pie for Theo and chocolate cake for Meg.

We’ll eat too much, talk for hours and heartily GIVE THANKS for the health and love of our beautiful family.

It would be easy for me to dive into a tailspin of heartache at the thought of not being able to see Coen everyday for the rest of his life but I’m not going there. I’m a grammy of the twenty first century. I intend to become brilliant at Skyping, Snap Chatting, texting and booking flights!

I, also, have the happy knowledge that he and his parents will be home for Christmas – HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY…


OLD FASHIONED HARVARD BEETS – sweet and sour beets

Makes 8 servings
2 pounds fresh beets, trimmed

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup white wine vinegar

2 whole cloves

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons orange marmalade

Sea salt, to taste


THE STEPS:

  • Boil the beets, in salted water, until tender, 20-30 minutes.
  • Drain the beets then immerse in ice water. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and cut the beets into eights.
  • Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized pot, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and whole cloves.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
  • Whisking constantly, cook for 30 seconds or until thickened.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and orange marmalade until melted.
  • Stir in the beets and cook to heat through.
  • Season with sea salt.
  • Serve at room temperature.

THE LOVE: Be sure to us the freshest beets possible to avoid any musty taste.

print recipe

Happy Thanksgiving and may the bounty of a life well lived be yours.

Thanks for reading.