We were pressure cooking beets and we wanted a simple and flavorful liquid to cook them in. A liquid that had character but would not overpower the beets. Our fall refrigerator is always stocked with apple cider. It was as easy as opening the door, looking around, and having the a-ha moment. I put medium-large beets in the pressure cooker and covered them two thirds of the way with apple cider. We pressure cooked them for 45 minutes. Then we let the pressure dissipate naturally. Normally we would peel the cooled beets and reserve them separately, only occasionally using the cooking liquid. Here we cooled the beets completely in the cooking liquid to let the infusion intensify.
The following day we removed the beets from the apple-beet cider. We peeled them and then tasted. They were sweet, earthy, and juicy. The cooking liquid was also flavorful and delicious, a refreshing blend of apples and beets. We often discard or reduce beet cooking liquids down to syrups. Not here. The apple-beet cider was full flavored and stood on its own. We seasoned the apple-beet cider with 0.5% salt and then divided it into 2 parts. The first part we used to vacuum seal raw pink lady apples. The second part we froze to make a granita. Upon reflection we realized that we should have saved some just for drinking. It is an incredibly refreshing liquid, vivid both in color and flavor.