Pickling

Tuck Some Jewel Tone Pickled Beets Away In Your Pantry This Summer

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Great Grandma’s Pickled Beets

Nothing beats pickled beets for gorgeous pickles. These are the crown jewels of the pickle dish, radiantly red and ravishing. They are not boring green gherkins; they are the royalty of the relish tray.

Even folks who “turnip” their noses at cooked beets find them irresistible when they’re pickled. We’ll show you how, but first, let’s dig up a little history of beets and find out why they are such an amazing vegetable.

pickled beets

Beets were grown in the hanging gardens of Babylon. Medieval cooks made them into pies, and the Elizabethans enjoyed them in both tarts and stews. Thomas Jefferson raised them in his garden at Monticello, but Barrack and Michelle Obama did not want them included in the organic garden at the White House. Why? It “beets” me.

Beets are a superfood. They are loaded with nutrients, including potassium, betaine, magnesium, folate, and vitamin C. If that’s not enough, beets are an excellent source of dietary nitrate that helps dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure and increase energy levels.

Beets are rich in natural sugars, copper, and manganese. These nutrients help boost your energy levels, make DNA, regulate your immune system, and build and repair tissues and bones! They can also help improve circulation and cognitive function. Wow! Talk about a no-brainer! Get you some beets, people!

And yes, pickled beets have all the health benefits and much longer shelf life than fresh beets. Let’s get to pickling!!

Here’s How To Make A Beautiful Batch Of Pickled Beets

beets1

Tip number 1: Wear old clothes or an apron. Tip number 2: Spritz your cutting board with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray to keep it free of purple blotches! Beet juice can stain!

You will need about 12 pounds of raw beets to make a seven or eight-quart batch. Cut off the leaves and the root end, and wash off the dirt. Put a very large stockpot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, cut the beets into uniformly sized chunks, especially if the beets vary a lot in size. You’ll peel them after they are cooked because it’s so much easier!

While the beets are cooking, tie the spices into a piece of cotton cloth. In a medium-large pot, put the water, salt, Sucanat, and vinegar. Place the bag of spices into the brine and bring to a low simmer for about 10 minutes.

Sucanat is a brand name of sugar that is less processed and more natural than white sugar. Read more about it and how you can replace it with other kinds of sweeteners here.

Cook the beets until they are tender. Test for doneness by poking them with the tip of a knife. Drain off the cooking water. If you like, save the water to add to smoothies. It will keep in the fridge for a week, or you can freeze it.

Next, put the beets in a sink full of very cold water. The skins should slip off pretty easily, but a few beets are more stubborn than others. Cut out any woody parts of the beet and discard them.

If the pot you used to cook the beets is deep enough to accommodate a quart jar with an inch or two of water covering the jar lids, you can use it for the hot water bath you’ll need to process the beets.

Rinse out, refill the pot with water, and bring it to a boil again while you cut up the beets into pickle-size pieces (which is entirely up to you!) I like to add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to the hot water bath. This step cuts down on lime deposits that are left on the jars.

Fill each clean quart jar about 1/4 of the way with the pickling brine. Then add the cooked, peeled, and cut-up beets to each jar. If needed, add more brine, so the beets are covered. Leave an inch or two of space between the beets and the lid of the jar.

Use a clean damp cloth to wipe the rim of the jar before putting the canning flat and ring in place. Screw rings on snugly by hand on each jar.

Place the filled jars carefully into the hot water bath, making sure there is at least an inch of water covering the lid. Bring to a boil and keep the water boiling for 15 minutes. Slowly lift each jar out to the boiling water with a jar lifting tool. Set each jar gently onto a cooling rack or thickly folded towel to cool completely, undisturbed! No touching!

The lids will each make a satisfying “ping” sound as they seal. If any of the jars do not seal, keep them in the refrigerator and eat them first! See how easy that is?

Yield: 7 - 8 quarts

Great Grandma's Pickled Beets

pickled beets

These sweet and sour, spicy and tangy pickled beets are beautiful on a relish plate! Grandma loved it with liverwurst, also wonderful with cottage cheese, or all by themselves!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3  one-gallon bags of raw beets, greens removed. (this is about 12 pounds)
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 3 cups of raw apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups of water
  • 4-6 cups Sucanat  (this is a brand name of sugar that is less refined than ordinary white sugar)
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher or pickling salt

Instructions

  1. Cut off the leaves and the root end of each beet and wash off the dirt.
  2. Put a very large stockpot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.
  3. While you're waiting for the water to boil, cut the beets into uniformly sized chunks, especially if the beets vary a lot in size. You'll peel them after they are cooked because it's so much easier!
  4. While the beets are cooking, tie the spices into a piece of cotton cloth. In a medium-large pot, put the water, salt, sucanat, and vinegar. Place the bag of spices into the brine and bring to a low simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Cook the beets until they are tender. Test for doneness by poking them with the tip of a knife. Drain off the cooking water. If you like, save the water to add to smoothies. It will keep in the fridge for a week, or you can freeze it.
  6. Next, put the beets in a sink full of very cold water. The skins should slip off pretty easily, but a few beets are more stubborn than others. Cut out any woody parts of the beet and discard them.
  7. If the pot you used to cook the beets is deep enough to accommodate a quart jar with an inch or two of water covering the jar lids, you can use it for the hot water bath you'll use to process the beets.
  8. Rinse out and refill the pot with water and bring it to a boil again while you cut up the beets into pickle size pieces, which is entirely up to you! I like to add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to the hot water bath. This cuts down on lime deposits on the jars.
  9. Fill each clean quart jar about 1/4 of the way with the pickling brine. Then add the cooked, peeled, and cut-up beets to each jar. If needed, add more brine, so the beets are covered. Leave an inch or two of space between the beets and the lid of the jar.
  10. Use a clean damp cloth to wipe the rim of the jar before putting the canning flat and ring in place. Screw rings on snugly by hand on each jar.
  11. Place the filled jars carefully into the hot water bath, making sure there is at least an inch of water covering the lid.
  12. Bring to a boil and keep the water boiling for 15 minutes. Slowly lift each jar out to the boiling water with a jar lifting tool. Set each jar gently on a cooling rack or thickly folded towel to cool completely, undisturbed! No touching!
  13. The lids will each make a satisfying "ping" sound as they seal. If any of the jars do not seal, keep them in the refrigerator and eat them first! See how easy that is?

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

70

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 12Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 89mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

If You’re Looking For An Easier Way To Make Pickled Beets

If you are not inclined to can beet pickles, you’re in luck. I’ve included a recipe for refrigerator pickled beets. They’re super easy and sweetened with honey. You simply mix up a brine and pour it over beets you have roasted and peeled. You can even use canned beets in this recipe. Use the liquid you drain off as part of the pickling brine.

Yield: 1 quart or 8 servings

Quick Refrigerator Pickled Beets

pickled beets in dish

A quick and easy pickled beet that does not need to be canned. Instead, the flavors develop in the refrigerator as the beets marinate in the pickling brine.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds red beets, trimmed and washed (you can also use golden beets) 
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pickling Liquid

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons honey (you decide how sweet you want them to be)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • If you want a more old-fashioned flavor you can add a cinnamon stick, some peppercorns, or a few cloves. These are YOUR pickles!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Place the beets in a deep baking dish with a lid, or put them in a foil packet on a shallow baking sheet with a rim to catch any drips. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and bake the beets for 60 to 90 minutes until they are tender. (You can boil the beets instead if you would rather do it that way.) Set them aside until they are cool enough to handle.
  4. Peel the cooled beets. This process should be fairly easy to do. The peels usually slip right off but if they are stubborn, use a paper towel to push the peel off.
  5. Cut the beets into bite-size pieces; put the beets into a clean 1-quart canning jar. A wide-mouth jar makes it easier to get the beets out when you crave some!
  6. Combine the vinegar, water, and honey in a 2-cup glass pitcher. Whisk until the honey has dissolved and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour the pickling liquid over beets in the jar. You may not need all the juice.
  8. Cover tightly and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before eating. Flavors intensify the longer they marinate in the brine.

Sound good, but now you need some ideas for how to serve pickled beets? Offer them as a side dish sprinkled with a little feta cheese. Or add pickled beets to your favorite salad! Crank up the nutrition in any meal!

Chop pickled beets and combine them with cabbage, carrots, garlic, and vinegar to make a tangy garnish for sandwiches or burgers. They’re also wonderful with ripe pears, mixed greens, walnuts, and goat cheese.

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