Beets and I have a love-hate relationship.
Love when they add a hint of sweetness to my bitter arugula and goat cheese. Hate when they turn my t-shirt from pretty-in-white to pajama-only appropriate.
Love when they transform my tabbouleh into a beautiful party in pink. Hate when they permanently make my cutting boards appear as though I have a serious wine addiction.
Love when roasted. Hate when boiled.
Love when pickled. Hate when that pickling includes hard-boiled eggs.
I could go on, but I’ll save you and get straight to the point. One more love profession first though, which is for this pickled beet recipe. I assure you it’s worth every bit of stain and messiness inevitably involved in its preparation. The recipe comes from Saving the Seasons, a book given to me by my farm family when I started mentioning a desire to start canning. I must’ve been dreaming big because not one tomato, peach or beet for that matter ever made it to the canner. I actually somehow did manage to get a canner to my house this summer. It sits untouched on my living room floor…
I didn’t let the mason jars that came with it go to waste though. A few of them got filled up with these beets, a refrigerator staple you can munch on for a couple weeks after preparing — canned or not. These make for a great salad topper of all kinds. From lettuce to grains, they’re simply born for salads.
If you do decide to finish out the recipe and actually put the beets through the boiling process, they’ll last much longer. It’s one of those dream big ideas I still plan on carrying out before my beet supply runs short. We’ll see. That part of the recipe’s up to you.
P.S. I’ll be in Vermont for the next week! Expect a possible delay in blogging while I eat nothing but maple syrup for a few.
- -1 quart beets
- -1 cup / 250 ml vinegar (white or cider)
- -1 cup / 250 ml white sugar (I used a tad less)
- -1 cup / 250 ml beet juice from cooking (add water if necessary)
- -1 stick cinnamon
- -1/2 tsp. whole cloves
- -1 tsp. salt (optional)
- Choose young, tender beets. Cut off tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and root. Wash thoroughly.
- Cover with water and cook until tender, approximately 15-25 minutes, depending on size.
- Dip in cold water until cool enough to handle. Slip off skins and cut off remaining tops and roots. Cut into cubes, slices or quarters. If quite small, beets may be left whole.
- Combine vinegar, sugar, beet juice and spices. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Pack beets in clean jars and add hot pickling liquid, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath.
Instead of canning, pickled beets may be refrigerated and ready to eat in 24 hours. They will keep refrigerated for several weeks.
Also, leaving part of the stem and root on beets when cooking helps prevent nutrients from cooking away.