Pickled Beets!

Don’t think you like beets?  You might like pickled beets because they taste like an explosion of fall spices distributed through a sweet and vinegary brine packed with flavour.  GREAT on salads.

Skip right to the recipe.

You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a pickled beet.

Unless you’ve kissed someone in front of the Eiffel tower, while cherry blossoms rain out of the sky.  That’d probably win out in the “you haven’t lived until”  contest over the pickled beet thing.

But pickled beets are pretty darn good. I bet they’d taste even better while in Paris. You could clink your fork into the mason jar while wearing a luxurious but casual, all cream, down to the ground dress  designed by your best friend Ralph Lauren, who presented it to you at sunset, on horseback, while vacationing at his ranch. That you’re considering buying.  Once you get back from Paris.

Now that I think of it, pickled beets are kindda shit, compared to all the other great things that could happen in one’s life.

Let’s try this again. Pickled Beets! They’re better than an open wound!

Good. Glad we got that straightened out.

There are a few variations of pickled beetroot and I like the ones with sugar, vinegar and autumn spices. They have a similar taste to my bread and butter pickles. And I mean similar. Not the same.

This year I tried a new pickled beet recipe because … shock of all shocks … I was finding my old recipe a bit too sweet.  I guess my tastes have changed.  Or sugar has become sweeter in recent years.

I assume since you’re here, and you’re still reading, you too have an interest in pickling some of these suckers. Maybe you like them, or maybe you’ve never tried to make them, or maybe you’re going to the Eiffel Tower soon and figure you should bring a jar. Regardless of what the reason is, you’re in the right place.

Because I am right now, at this very moment, going to share my most recent Pickled Beet recipe.

 

Pickled Beet Recipe

 

HOW TO MAKE PICKLED BEETS

 

  1. Cook 10-15 pounds of beets.  I normally roast beets but for this many I find boiling them easier.
  2. Mix brine ingredients together.
  3. Peel and chop beets.
  4. Add beets to brine and simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Pour beets and brine into jars and process.

That’s it.

Pickled Beet Recipe

The easiest way to remove the skins is to cut the tip and root off, then rub the skin off with a paper towel.  The skins should just come right off.  Since this is real life, there will be the odd stubborn one.  Those ones are assheads and you can either throw them at someone or use a knife to get the skin off.  Or throw them at someone.

 

Pickled Beet Recipe

You can either quarter or slice your beets.  I like to quarter them.

Pickled Beet Recipe

If the quarters are too big, cut the quarters in half.

Pickled Beets Recipe

Even if you don’t happen to like the taste of pickled beets I almost feel like you should make them based on how pretty they are.

Don’t ever forget to wipe the rim of your jar when you’re canning. One little drip will ruin any hopes of getting a proper seal.  Then you’ll cry.

Pickled Beets Recipe

If you don’t have one of these little metal sticks, grab one here.  They’re made for picking up the sealers out of the hot water and they’re great.  If you don’t have any of the handy canning stuff, get this whole kit.  You get the magnetic stick, a can grabber, funnel and a bunch of other stuff.

Pickled Beets Recipe

 

 

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Pickled Beets
Course: Canning/Preserves
Cuisine: Yummy
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff
Ingredients
  • 10 lbs beets
  • 3 cups water
  • 7 cups vinegar
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cloves
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher or pickling salt
Instructions
  1. Cook and peel beets.
  2. Cut into quarters.
  3. Mix together remaining ingredients in large pot.
  4. Add quartered beets to brine in pot and simmer 10 minutes.
  5. Fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/2" from top with beets.
  6. Fill with brine to 1/2" from top of jar.
  7. Remove any air bubbles in jar.
  8. Wipe rim clean.
  9. Secure with seal and screw band.
  10. Process beets 30 minutes in hot water bath.

 

Pickled Beets Recipe

There are a lot of different pickled beet recipes out there and there are a LOT of different ways to process them.  Up until a few years ago I always just jarred them in hot jars, covered them with hot liquid and called it a day.  It’s always worked fine for my family.  But now that I have a blog  I have to be responsible and suggest methods that might not kill my readers.  Because I lose enough readers every month simply by offending them.  I can’t start actually killing them off now.

So I decided to give them a 30 minute water bath for your benefit. Do you need to refrigerate pickled beets?  Not if you process them.  Will eating a pickled beet make you think you’re dying when you poop the next day?  Yes.  Pickled beets will make your poop look like its bleeding.  Will pickled beets turn your urine red?  You’d have to eat a lot of them, but yes. It’s possible.

Kissing in front of the Eiffel tower while it rains cherry blossoms?  Technically also possible.  Thankfully.

 

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137 Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    Even though they make me sick, I love beets. Pickled beets were the gateway into my beet eating addiction. Now I like ’em anyway I can get ’em.

  2. Karen says:

    Nicole – Well. Maybe they aren’t *actually* making you sick. Maybe you only *think* you’re dying the day after eating beets. When really … you just ate beets. You’ll be O.K. 😉 ~ karen

  3. SK Farm Girl says:

    My Aunt, who was an accomplished canner, cook, seamstress, gardner and many other things, taught me the simplest way to make pickled beets. Yes, I know there are a gazillion ways to pickled beets, but this truly is the easiest. Once you have parboiled, skinned and cut into bit size pieces, pack your beets into pint jars. Add 1/2 cup white sugar, add pickling vinegar to within 1/4″ – 1/2″ of rim. Run a knife through the “juice” to remove bubbles. Have your lids and rings in boiling water, screw on lids. Shake the jars until the sugar disolves; playing some Reggae and using the jars as shooka-shookas cranks the process up to party notch! Tah-dah that’s it! She never processed them, and she’d been making them for 60+ years and none of us ever got sick. I do, however, keep my stash in the spare fridge!!! Hmmmm . . . come to think of it there are some still down there; gotta go for a midnight raid of pickled beets and tomorrow I’ll think I’m dying!

  4. Bobbi says:

    Pickled beets……..I have noticed them in your menus and have held back but …………yuck !!

    Brussels sprouts to you….pickled beets to me.

  5. sherry says:

    thanks for both the recipe and the chuckles:)

  6. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    “I have to be responsible and suggest methods that might not kill my readers. Because I lose enough readers every month simply by offending them.” HA – What wimps..if you offend them they better not turn on their TV’s anymore..Or go out in public..or do pretty much anything that involves other people..these people must live in plastic bubbles cause I see & hear a lot more offensive things around me everyday than anything that comes out of your mouth sweetie..Oh Yeah..Love pickled beets!..Yeah..this is how I get when I stay up late..

  7. Belinda says:

    Yum! I love beetroot (that’s what we call them in lil’ ol’ New Zealand) and if you want to try something that I’m told is pretty unique to my corner of the world, then next time you’re having hamburgers (the ones that are homemade, with salad stuff in em) throw in a couple of slices of pickled beets. Can’t be beaten! Especially if there’s a fried egg going on in there, too 😉

  8. Shannon Clarke Devine says:

    Hi Karen

    As I live in South Africa and have been on a safari or two I must tell you that the beets sound far more scary!!

    Shannon

  9. Moe says:

    Your recipe sounds a lot like mine except I use pickling spice tightly wound in cheesecloth and I simmer my beets in liquid a lot longer. I love beets too every way except with balsamic vinegar sprinkled over them. I don’t know why people think that stuff tastes good. If it ain’t sweet, I ain’t eatin it. :o)

  10. Deborah says:

    um…..you forgot to mention HOW IN THE WORLD WE GET THE PINK STAINS OFF OUR SKIN after peeling and chopping/slicing so many beets…. last time I did them and then had a manicure appt the girl refused to waste her precious time trying to compete with pickled beet juice on my nails…. 😛

  11. magali says:

    This seems like an appropriate post to tell you that I finally have a birch wood french rolling pin! My sister got it for me for my birthday. I have yet to try it, but I love to touch the soft wood! I can now make my very first home made pie crust… and I can give a pie to Ralph Lauren as a token of my appreciation.

  12. Denise says:

    Just to clarify my reason for reading is NOT “I assume since you’re here, and you’re still reading you too have an interest in pickled beets.” You are just too funny REGARDLESS of the topic. So, even though I have no affinity for beets except for an awesome beet soup I had once, I still drop by for a chuckle or two every day! Thanks. Kinda like “Karen! Better than Prosac!”

  13. Melody Madden says:

    Pickled beets are one of my all time favs …. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  14. Darlene says:

    Instead of using the spices (by the way I work for McCormick Spice Co) try using red hot cinnamon candies! You will love that flavor!

  15. Arlene says:

    How did you know? I was just about to strangle my friend – for her coveted Pickled Beet recipe… when you post, what I believe to be the same recipe I would have gone to jail to get….
    Thanks — I too have gone over to the dark side –the dark purple side — can’t live without a jar in my fridge.
    thanks a mil 🙂

  16. Mary Werner says:

    No better way to make your poop fashionably pink!

  17. Langela says:

    Just yesterday I read a blogger who roasts her beets with carrots. I am not one for pickled beets. That is the only way I’ve ever had them. I also don’t like sweet pickles. I have been almost convinced to try them unpickled at some point to see if I can handle them that way. Otherwise, Ralph is on speed dial along with my travel agent. I may be taking a trip soon.

  18. Karol says:

    I haven’t eaten a beet since I was 9 when my dad lovingly shoved them down my throat, because, he said “who doesn’t like beets?” That was a hundred years ago, and now I don’t have to eat anything I don’t like. And I don’t like beets. The only thing I eat that is pickled is a pickle. They do however, make a beautiful dye.

  19. Meagan says:

    This might elicite a “My prayers are with you” remark but I wouldn’t object to a detailed post on processing. That’s the part of canning that freaks me out. Otherwise I’d have a pantry full of zucchini salsa, jams and pickles!

  20. Barbie says:

    LUB me some beets! Any kind! I also can beets every year and we usually always have enough to last until the next garden produces more. I also canned golden beets this year….not pickled. Golden are so good in salads! YUM!
    My recipe is much the same as yours.
    I certainly hope you are growing some beets in your garden…can’t remember….sorry. 🙂
    PS: I tried to pressure can them one year! NO NO NO! They turned out completely mushy! I don’t think beets are suppose to be pressure canned. I lost a whole batch and was so mad at myself! 🙁

  21. Beets taste like you are chewing the dirt right out of your garden. Ok – I confess- I have never tried a picked beet.
    My hubs recently started to sneak them into our juicer and make our daily juice with beets too. I’m suddenly in love with them. Still mad at him for tricking me -but beets are YUM. Don’t tell him. Shhhh.

  22. Susan says:

    Oh rats, I’m just too much of a realist. My cream-coloured Safari outfit ended up with pickled beet juice splatters on it. I’m one of those people who keep going out and buying white summer tops and wear them once before splattering them with something. Am I the definition of an optimist?
    Since I gave up cooking for Lent one year and forgot to start again, I don’t pickle any more but there is a lady down the street who keeps me supplied with pickled beets and gluten-free mustard pickles. She is a friend indeed because I sure do love those pickles.

  23. Karen says:

    ell, keeping t hem in the fridge is one thing. Leaving them on the shelf is another, LOL. Also you have to be careful when doing things like they did in the “olden days”, like 10 years ago or so. 🙂 Through hybridization and genetics and such, our food has changed. Tomatoes for example are far less acidic than they once were which is why they didn’t need to be processed years ago and now they do. ~ karen!

  24. Karen says:

    Wait. What?! A fried egg and pickled beets on a hamburger? Wait. What?! ~ karen

  25. CBuffy says:

    Mmmmmmmm. Home canned pickled beets and macaroni and cheese. Food of the GODS!!!

  26. Karen says:

    Thank you ma’am. That’s my goal. If you don’t like the topic you better be entertained by something else at least. ~ karen!

  27. Karen says:

    Lynne – Does he cook the beets or raw for the juicer? We did raw but the fella didn’t wash the beet so it really did taste like dirt in the smoothie. Plus it of course was raw. It was quite gross in fact. ~ karen!

  28. I have to admit I have never tried a beat in any form in my entire life. I don’t think I would go out and buy them to try but if I am ever somewhere they have beats for offer I might just give one a try.

  29. White says:

    My preference with pickled beets (any/all pickles, actually) is the amount of “bite”.

    Two things can adjust that bite:
    1) “Pickling vinegar” = 7% acetic acid, not 5%
    2) Adding a small “hot” pepper to each jar

    Question: do you wear gloves when peeling/handling the cooked beets? If so… wimp 🙂

  30. Karen says:

    White – I don’t wear gloves when handing blindingly hot peppers, so no. Definitely not with beets. The stains rub/wash/wear off after less than a day so it doesn’t bother me none. 🙂 Plus if you get hungry you can always suck on your fingers throughout the day. ~ karen

  31. I had to ask him. Now he knows I like the juice. I usually make a gross face, and don’t confess that I am secretly in love with the beet addition in the juice. I have spent way to many years telling him that beets are the grossest thing on earth.
    He juices them raw, {but peels them first}. It makes the juice such a brilliant color and makes it taste sweet ( hiding the other stuff that he puts in there, and doesn’t want to tell me about either).

  32. Pat says:

    Beets as a side dish with perogies! MMMM.
    Yes, Karen, you are so right about the processing in the hot water bath. For years my mother and I made her beet “relish” recipe which did not call for the processing and no one ever got sick. Over the past few years we have been adding that part with all the new information on what is in our food now and how the canning process has changed. If you ever take a “Food Safe” course, that’ll make your eyes pop and reconsider how you are dealing with food.

  33. Kelly says:

    I was just thinking longingly about pickled beets when I was planting the little beet seeds this weekend. My recipe is very similar except I just pour the syrup over the beets in the jar and then pop the lids on. Another favorite at our house is pickled carrots. Can’t wait.

  34. Rebecca says:

    Well, what I had to say has already been said, but I feel so strongly about it that I’ll repeat it… ICK! Beets taste like dirt. You will never make me like them (my husband has tried-he eats them by the jarful). They are to me what Brussels sprouts are to you. I hate Brussels sprout too though! Probably more than beets actually. If I had a gun to my head and a plate of each, and forced to eat one, I’d probably pick the beets just because they don’t make me gag.

  35. Anna says:

    Now here’s a photo op. What does the jar of pickled beets in your fridge look like!?

  36. Paula says:

    Growing up, the only way we ate beets was pickled. I HATED the too vinegar-y taste of them and assumed I just didn’t like beets. Then I grew up and got to eat them just plain roasted with a little salt – YUM! I love beets! Just had ’em in a salad last night, even! But pickled? No, no, no, no, NOOOOO!

  37. Brie says:

    This is such a good point!!!! I hate when people say, “Well we did it this way for years, and I’m still here!”….. This world is a different place, especially in regards to our food. Great post as usual Karen!

  38. Pats says:

    I actually never had a NON-pickled beet until I was an adult. For those who haven’t had them, they don’t really taste anything like a regular beet. It’s a whole different food.

  39. Chrissy says:

    I loved pickled beets, but I’ve never cooked a beet nor eaten a non-pickled variety.

    How long do you boil the beets?

  40. Spokangela says:

    We pickled some beets for the first time last year. I thought I hated beets until I grew my own and sliced them up & threw them in a salad. Now I can’t get enough of them!

    I think the deep crimson color of the beet juice/pickling liquid is too beautiful to waste so I am going to dye my stained Ikea dishcloths with it. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂 Thank you Karen for yet another hysterically funny post.

  41. Karen says:

    Chrissy – Until they’re done. Heh. Depends on the size of the beet. Around 45 minutes to an hour. Just stick a fork in them like a potato. You want a slight amount of resistance, otherwise they’ll be mush. Especially after you process them for 10 minutes. ~ karen!

  42. Maria says:

    1) These look delicious 2) Thank you for being real about the obsessive safety stuff 3) I need these in my mouth right now.

  43. Chrissy says:

    Whoa, glad I asked. I probably would have just blanched them to get the skins off!

  44. Nicole2 says:

    I love me a good pickled beet. But I hate anything to do with the kitchen. However, you, Karen, make it sound so exciting, easy and doable, that I may run out and buy stuff to try this. You’re slowly making me more domesticated. My husband will be so impressed.

  45. charissa says:

    Love this! I have to confess though… although I’m finally starting to come around on the idea of pickled things (I’m a recovering vinegar hater. I know; I’m working on it.) I am ashamed to state that I really don’t know how I’m supposed to eat pickles! Just, you know, beside the other veggies at dinner? Even though they’re cold? Do you throw ’em into salads, or is that weird? I like the Down South idea of using beets as a burger condiment. But a girl can only eat so many burgers in a day!

  46. SK Farm Girl says:

    Point well-taken! A quick bath never hurt anybody! Next batch I will process so as not to kill the next generation of my family – LOL! Thanks Karen and Brie! You are right, our foods are changing and so must we change with them! Cheers!

  47. Karen says:

    SK – Trust me … up until a couple of years ago I was with you. Screw it. I’m alive. Then I started looking into and researching foods and how they’ve changed and … well … then *I* changed. ~ karen!

  48. Evalyn says:

    The Blue Ball(cough)Canning Book has a receipe they call spicey pickled beets, which contain slices of onion; it’s not as vinegar-y as the Pickled Beet receipe and is my favorite, even over my mother’s recipe.

    Here’s a thought – instead of ground spices, use the same ones, only in whole form. Genius, right?

    Charissa: the correct way to eat pickled beets is with a fork or your fingers out of the jar.

    Removing beet stains from your hands: lemon juice works really well, and even softens your skin.

  49. Jenny Ryan says:

    My mom makes pickled beets ALL THE TIME and half the time she tosses in some jalapenos to kick up the spice. And as much as I love things with jalapenos…oh my god do I hate pickled beets. Partially because two years ago at Thanksgiving I thought the pile of pickled beets was a pile of cranberry sauce from the can. It wasn’t. What a terrible way to find that out…

    Also, my husband still remembers when he was a kid and thought that the pickled beets on his plate were cinnamon apples. Nope. Hello, pickled beets! The old bait and switch got us both. ^_^

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