Pickled beets is one of my favorite ways to eat beets! Post may contain affiliate links.
Beets are kind of polarizing like cilantro. It seems that you either love them or hate them, there is not much gray area. I am most decidedly on the love side. I have loved them for as long as I can remember. Growing up the only way we had beets was pickled. My grandmother had a Polish/Lithuanian background and we had pickled beets fairly often, though I don’t actually remember her canning any. I remember her opening cans of beets and then serving them in a pickling type brine. I never even knew there was such a thing as roasted beets.
As I’m writing this, I pause to think about children today. With the internet and TV, they are exposed to more food than I even knew existed when I was growing up. The only variation in what you ate was when you visited a friend’s house who might have a different cultural influence, but in my suburb in St. Louis, even that wasn’t easy to find. Pizza was made from a Chef Boyardee Pizza Kit. If we wanted Chinese it was La Choy Chow Mein with the crispy noodles. We didn’t even know there was such a thing as Thai food, never heard of a Kalamata olive.
It’s funny, but I got off on a tangent on how far we’ve come eating and my post today is about something probably as old as the hills. Pickled beets. Even with all the new flavors and tastes open to us, there is still plenty of room for a pantry filled with simple put up foods, like pickled beets. I am tickled pink (ha!) to have these jars lined up on my shelves – an easy side dish just waiting to happen.
As with all my canning recipes, I suggest that you get a comprehensive canning book or use the internet. If you are looking for canning inspiration and techniques, I love Punk Domestics and Food in Jars. At the end of this post I will link to some of my favorite canning books. I found this recipe in The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market (Revised Edition). I modified it a bit in that I used pickling spice instead of the cinnamon, allspice, and cloves that the recipe called for. I didn’t want those flavors, I wanted a more standard pickled flavor.
- 7 pounds beets, with their rootlets and 2 inches of their tops, well scrubbed
- 3 tablespoons of pickling spice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pickling salt
- 1 quart cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- Put the beets in a large pot and cover with boiling water. Return the water to a boil and boil them for about 15-35 minutes depending on their size. You want them just tender.
- Drain the beets and cover them with cold water. When they are cool, trim them and slip off their skins. Halve or quarter them or slice into 1/4 inch slices.
- Place the spices in a cheesecloth bag. Place the bag and the sugars, salt, vinegar and water in a non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugars dissolve. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- While the liquid simmers, pack the beets in pint or quart mason jars (properly sterilized per general canning instructions). Pour the hot liquid over the beets leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with two piece caps (processed per canning instructions). Process the jars for 30 minutes in a boiling-water bath.
- Store the jars in a cool, dry place for at least 3 weeks before eating. After opening store the jar in the fridge. You might want to consider saving the juice for pickled eggs.