Pickled Beets

Easy pickling recipes and simple pickled beet salads

Pickled beets are a very tasty addition to your meal, and a great way to use this healthy vegetable. Pickle your beets right and you’ll think you are eating fresh beets from the garden when you open the jar.

Pickling is the process when foods are preserved with salt water or vinegar. Varying the spices and seasoning you can make sweet pickles, sour pickles, and spiced pickles either sweet or sour.

Preparing Beets for Pickling

Beets may be pickled whole if small in size (baby beets), or in halves, quarters, or slices.

Select fresh, crisp, unblemished vegetables preferably uniform in size. Clean the beets carefully scrubbing them in plenty of clear water.

Cook beets in slightly salted water before you place them in the pickling solution. The salt draws the water from the tissues and makes them crisp, firm, and better prepared to absorb the pickling solution.Plunge cooked beets in a bowl with cold water for a minute to cool, drain, and slip the skins with your hands. Prepare pickling solution with vinegar and spices.

The spices may be used either whole or ground for a clear or a dark pickle. If they are ground, place the spices in a muslin (or cheesecloth) bag and remove from the solution before the pickles are canned.

  • If the beets are going to be heated in the pickling solution, the vinegar and spices are not previously heated.
  • If you are placing the beets in the cans cold and will be pouring the hot vinegar over them, bring the picking solution slowly to boil, cook according to the recipe, and then pour over the beets.

When you are pickling a small batch of beets, it is easy to determine how much vinegar to use by placing prepared beets into the jar and pouring the vinegar into it until the beets are covered. Then, pour the vinegar out and make a pickling solution from that amount. Too strong vinegar can bleach the beets or cause them to soften after it is pickled. If the vinegar you use is too strong, dilute it with water.

You get the best results if pickled beets are sealed in glass jars. However, it is easy to prepare quick pickled beets you can serve the next day, or even in a couple hours. This is also an economical and tasty way to use up the leftover beets after you are done making a beet salad, or other beet dishes.

Pickled Beets Basic Recipe

This recipe is a basic recipe from Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking that gives you an idea of proportions and ingredients to use:

  • 3 lbs. beets
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • ½ cup water

Boil beets until tender and remove skins. Tie spices in cheesecloth. Heat vinegar, water, sugar and spices to boiling point. Add beets and boil 5 minutes. Pack in sterile jars and fill with hot liquid. Seal.

Salads and Relishes with Pickled Beets

I love multitalented pickled beets! They are a wonderful garnish to many fish and meat dishes (you don’t have to do anything at all – they are great served right out of the jar). Quick and easy , even the traditional salads made with pickled beets look and taste like winners and require very little time and effort.

Mix beets with onions and apples in this easy to make, sweet and tangy beet chutney for something different.

Or, try a spicy beet relish to serve with sausages or burgers at your summer party.

When you use one of the quick pickle recipes, put some hard-boiled eggs into the pickling solution along with the beets, and there you have it, easy pickled eggs and beets.

Feeling creative? Pickle together various combinations of vegetables and you get Mixed Pickles (all colored a pretty pink) you can serve in relish trays to offset the richness of meets and sauces and enhance the appearance of your dinner table.

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