Pickling Beets

Here is a pickle recipe that I like to put up every year.  I used cylinder shaped beets for this recipe and cut into thick slices.  The recipe makes enough brine for 4 pints but I didn’t have enough beets to fill 4 pint jars.  Two bunches of these beets filled 2 1/2 jars.  I could have used another bunch of smallish beets but I didn’t want to leave the house again.  If you have a similar issue with more brine than beets, use the brine to pickle some hardboiled eggs.  Just boil and shell a few hardboiled eggs and submerge them in this colorful brine.  Cover with a lid and place in the fridge overnight.

Homemade Beet Pickles… almost as good as Grandma used to make

Even a few jars like this are good to have on hand for green salads adorned with fresh goat cheese and roasted nuts. Serve for lunch the next day with a Tuna Nicoise Salad.

Here’s the recipe from my book, Pickled: Preserving A World of Tastes and Traditions (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2003).  My Aunt Judy thinks it may be the one my Grandma Patton used alot.  You can read the whole story on pages 84-85.


Adapted by Author Lucy Norris (from a recipe contributed by Judy Lowther), Pickled, Preserving a World of Tastes and Traditions

Makes 4 pints


15-18 small to medium red beets, whole, unpeeled, scrubbed with greens removed (leave an inch of stem attached to root)

2 cups white sugar

2 cups water

2 cups white vinegar

(make spice bag using cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine)

1 tablespoon cinnamon or 1 piece of bark (ground will escape the bag- that’s OK for cinnamon but not other spices)

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

Immerse beets in water, and bring to boil until tender—boil approximately 10-15 minutes. Under cold running tap water work your fingers to easily slide off skins and softened root stems and discard into compost bin.  Slice or quarter cleaned beets to uniform size and set aside in a large saucepan.  In a separate pan, combine the spice bag, sugar, vinegar, and water together and bring to a boil.  Remove spice bag.  Pour brine over cooked beets and simmer 15 minutes.  Fill hot sterilized jars with beet mixture and process for 10-15 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature before storing.  Store sealed jars at room temperature for at least 3 weeks for flavor to develop.  Sealed jars will keep for up to a year.  Refrigerate after opening. Unprocessed jars can be refrigerated and are edible up to 6 months.


3 thoughts on “Pickling Beets

  1. I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

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