I love pickled beets. This is the busy harvest season in my country garden as I write this. That simply means that even though I’ve been in the garden daily, picking off fresh vegetables as they ripen, it’s now time to bring in the early fall produce like beets and zucchini in large quantities.
And beets, well…our family enjoys them boiled at dinner when they’re small and tender, but when the big ones come in out of the garden, I turn to my pickled beet recipe. This one was handed down from one of my favorite country cooks!
Pickling Success: It’s A Question of Quality
The quality of your finished product – the beet, dill or even watermelon rind pickle – is one that depends almost solely on the quality of the starting ingredients! Use only the finest, freshest ingredients. If you can’t grow your own produce, buy from a Farmer’s Market or country roadside stand.
Something Festive About This Pickled Beet Recipe
Now just like cucumbers are flat-tasting without added dill during pickling, the same goes for pickled beets without cinnamon, cloves and allspice. You’re probably thinking I’ve gone crazy suggesting you use up the Christmas spices on beets, but please just try it. You may just be pleasantly surprised!
As a matter of fact, with this recipe you can make an entire batch of regular pickled beets, then add the spices I’m suggesting in just one or two of your quarts. That way, if you don’t like it, very little is lost. But if you do like it, you’ll remember what to do next year at harvest time won’t you?
Pickled Beet Recipe (6 pints)
- 3 quarts cooked beets, peeled
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 3 ½ cups vinegar (check the label you need 4 to 6 % acidity which is standard pickling vinegar)
- 1 ½ cups distilled or filtered water
- Wash and drain your beets. Leave 2 inches of stems and the large tap roots on the beet.
- Cover with boiling water and cook until tender.
- Let them drain until just cool enough to handle, then chop them into pickled beet sized pieces, or slices if you prefer.
- Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the beets in a large pot over low heat.
- Simmer 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare your jars and lids by boiling them to sterilize.
- Pack peeled and trimmed beets into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head space.
- Pour hot pickling liquid over the tops of the beets in each jar.
- Adjust your lids.
- Process 30 minutes in boiling water canner.
Shelf Life of This Pickled Beet Recipe
Store jars in a cool, dark place and let set for 6-8 weeks before opening.
Consume within 8 months.