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“Borcas” — Grandma Cele’s Beet Preserves

Posted by Roberta Levine on March 28, 2022

Another Passover Recipe

My husband’s Grandma Cele often talked about making her Passover specialties for her sons – carrot candy and something she called “borcas.”

I did not grow up in a home with Old Country food traditions, so I had no idea what she was talking about. After she’d passed away and I wanted to continue the family tradition, I asked around to find a recipe but no one in the family had it. Finally, an elderly woman who I was chatting with after services explained to me that “borcas” simply means beets.

Eventually, I found a recipe that met the description for Grandma Cele’s borcas – in Joan Nathan’s The Jewish Holiday Kitchen, under the name Beet Eingemachts, which are preserves.

It’s a very unique and wonderful flavor combination — beets, lemons, ginger and almonds — that may be a form of charoses. I’ve been making it every year for my father-in-law and his brother, who spread on their matzah. For them, that’s the taste of Passover!

Beet Eingemachts

from Joan Nathan’s The Jewish Holiday Kitchen

Ingredients:

3/4 cup water
2 pounds Beets
2 cups Sugar
1 tablespoon Ginger
2 Lemons; sliced
1 cup sliced (blanched)  almonds

Preparation:

Pour water over sugar. Mix well in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil slowly and let simmer, uncovered, while you prepare the beets.

Peel and dice beets or cut into thin strips or grate. Cut the unpeeled lemons into thin strips or small dice (remove seeds), or grate in a food processor.

Place beets and lemon into sugar mixture. Cover and let simmer slowly about 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Do not let it stick.

Uncover and add ginger; simmer about another half hour or until it tests thick enough. Turn off heat and let it cool overnight.

Next day, toast almonds and fold into the cold preserves. Put into mason jars or jelly glasses, cover and refrigerate.

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