Beet Conserve

This savoury jam, ideal for serving alongside sweeter meats, was introduced to me many years ago by Marion Cunningham, a gracious cook who wrote many famous cookbooks, including a revised version of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook, when she invited me for dinner and made it to serve with grilled pork chops. Although I have changed the recipe slightly, reducing the amount of sugar and adding more lemon and salt, the idea is hers. The conserve keeps well refrigerated for a couple of months.


  • 2 pounds (1 kilogram) medium-large beets (about 4)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 2 small lemons, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Place a large sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Place beets in the middle, pour olive oil and water over them and fold foil over to enclose. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until beets are tender when pierced with a fork. Cool slightly then trim ends and peel.

Grate beets by hand or in a food processor. Transfer the beets to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir in sugar.

Quarter lemons, then cut quarters in half again lengthwise and seed (you should have about 1½ cups lemon pieces). Place lemon and ginger in a food processor and process until very finely chopped. Add lemon and ginger to beet mixture and stir to combine. Let stand for 1 hour or until sugar is dissolved.

Place pot over medium-low heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until juices are slightly syrupy. Season with salt to taste. Serve with pork chops. Serves 4 to 6.