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Farmer’s Table: Peppy Beets


By Susan Maslowski

Every year, I make a batch of fruity pepper jams and jelly. I’ve used many types of fruit depending on what is available at the time. Favorite flavors have included Strawberry Pepper Jelly and Fig Pepper Jam.

After opening a jar of jam, I usually have a small amount remaining, so I’ve tried some creative ways to use the rest.

I was delighted to find a cookbook called “Sweet Heat” at the Pittsburgh Farm to Table Conference last year. It contains many recipes for using pepper jelly, and was compiled by Maria Newman and Hillary Danner. The foreword was written by Gwyneth Paltrow, Hillary’s cousin. The book contains a collection of sweet hot recipes from kickin’ appetizers and cocktails to smokin’ desserts.

The book inspired me to try some culinary experiments using my own jams and jellies to add a little heat to dishes.

The beet recipe I am featuring this week called for orange marmalade, but that isn’t something I keep on hand. Instead I substituted some pepper jelly and was quite pleased with the results.

Pepper jams and jellies are not difficult to make, and they are great to have on hand for winter family gatherings, parties and holiday dinners. They also make a perfect hostess gift. Commercial pepper jellies and jams are widely available, too. Either can be used in this recipe.

The earthy flavor of beets blends nicely with the sweet hot pepper jelly. Beets will soon be in season and available at local farmers markets, but canned beets may be substituted in this recipe, if desired.

Peppy Beets

1 pound beets, cooked and sliced

1 large orange

½ cup pepper jelly

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

From the orange, grate 1-tablespoon peel and squeeze ¼ cup juice.

In a saucepan, mix jelly, cornstarch, mustard, orange peel, orange juice and salt. Add beets and cook over medium heat until boiling. Boil for 1 minute or until mixture is slightly thickened. Allow beets to cool.

Place beets in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

The beets can be served atop sliced oranges, if desired.

For questions about recipes or other information, contact Susan Maslowski at or go to our websites at and Susan also has a Farmer’s Table Facebook page.


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