Best Pickled Beets Recipe

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Pickled Beets
Pickled Beets

I so love pickled beets.  They are something I grew up with and I make them every year.  It’s a bit of a messy job but, oh, are the results so worth it!  I look upon these as vegetable candy!

Pickled beets are really nothing more than cooked beets bottled with a vinegar-sugar-spice syrup. That’s it.

For pickling, I recommend cylinder beets if you can get them. They are long and slender and slice nicely for fitting in to the jars and also for presentation.  Regular ball beets can, of course, be used for pickling and, in fact, that’s all my grandmothers would have used – just the regular garden variety.  However, some of the round beets grow quite large and the slices have to be cut into two or three pieces to get them to fit in the jars and they don’t look quite as nice for presentation….same great taste, though.

Beets take awhile to cook so patience is required for this exercise.  Try to select uniformly-sized ones so they all cook at the same rate. However, if you have a mixture of sizes, place the larger ones in the bottom of the pot and the smaller ones on top.

Don’t peel the beets before they are cooked. Simply remove the leaves, leaving about 1″ stem and the root end intact.  Removing the stem or root end will cause bleeding and the vegetable will lose its vibrant color during the cooking process. The stem ends get removed after cooking and the beets get peeled after they are cooked. In fact, the skins will usually just slip off the cooked beets.

Because these vegetables are a bit messy to deal with, I use a portable burner and cook them outside so there is less chance of beet-spattered walls and counter in my kitchen. They do stain surfaces. I add a couple of teaspoons of cooking oil to the water in which the beets are cooked as I find it helps to prevent them from boiling over.

When the beets are starting to get along with their cooking, start the syrup to cook in a separate smaller stockpot.  The syrup should cook for about 18-20 minutes at a slow boil.  Don’t boil it too rapidly or for too long as it will evaporate and there won’t be enough syrup to fill the jars. This means more syrup has to be made and the syrup needs to go over the hot beets so timing is everything. For instructions on how to make the spice sachet used in the syrup, visit my posting on making mustard pickles. I also recommend that pickling vinegar be used. It will usually have 7% acidity, making it stronger than table vinegar and will help to preserve the beets longer.

You can give the cooked beets a quick rinse under cold running water. It does make them a bit easier to handle. However, they have to be bottled hot so don’t over-do the rinsing. I recommend slicing the hot beets about 1/4″ thick. Pack them well into the hot sterilized jars, leaving about 1″ headroom. Ladle the hot syrup into the filled jars, filling each jar with the syrup to within 1/4″ from the top. Use a non-metal object to remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the jars and add more syrup, if necessary, to fill up the jars to about 1/4″ from the tops. Seal with heated lids and screw on the jar bands just until resistance is met.  For greatest food safety, it is recommended that the filled jars be processed in a hot water bath following your canner manufacturer’s directions for your local altitude.

Traditional PEI Christmas Dinner
Pickled Beets with Roast Turkey Dinner

We enjoy these tasty morsels with cooked dinners such as the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey dinners as well as with roast beef or pork dinners. They are also good served with cold meats.

Beets
Pickled Beets

[Printable Recipe follows at end of posting]

Best Pickled Beets

 Ingredients:

5 lbs cylinder beets, stem and root ends intact
Boiling water
2 tsp cooking oil

2¾ cups brown sugar
2¾ cups pickling vinegar
1 cup + 3 tbsp water
2¾ tsp pickling spice, tied into a small cheesecloth sachet
2 – 6” cinnamon sticks
¼ tsp salt

Method:
Remove the leaves from the beets, leaving about 1” stem in place.  Rinse under cold water to remove any clay.  In very large stock pot, place the larger beets on the bottom, then the smaller ones. Cover the beets with boiling water and add 2 tsp cooking oil.  Cover and cook over medium-high heat until beets are fork tender.

As beets are nearing the cooked stage, begin making the syrup by combining the sugar, vinegar, water, pickling spice sachet, cinnamon sticks, and salt into a small stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and boil, uncovered, slowly for approximately 15-18 minutes.

Remove cooked beets from water, rinse quickly under cold water, peel, and remove and discard stem and root ends. Slice hot beets into ¼” thick slices and pack into sterilized jars, leaving 1” headroom.

Remove and discard the pickling spice sachet and cinnamon sticks from the syrup.  Ladle hot syrup over beets leaving ¼“ headroom.  Using a non-metal object, remove any air bubbles from the jars and add more syrup as necessary to fill jars to about ¼“ from the top. Wipe each jar rim clean with a damp cloth. Seal immediately with heated lids. Screw on jar bands just until resistance is met.

Process filled jars in hot water bath according to canner manufacturer’s directions for the proper time for your local altitude.

Yield:  Apx. 6 pints

For more of my pickle and chow recipes, follow these links:
Mustard Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Green Tomato Chow
Mustard Beans

Best Pickled Beets Recipe

Yield: Apx 6 pints

These tasty sweet pickled beets are easy to make, showy in presentation, and are a fine accompaniment to many meals. A Prince Edward Island favorite.

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs cylinder beets, stem and root ends intact
  • Boiling water
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 2¾ cups brown sugar
  • 2¾ cups pickling vinegar
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp water
  • 2¾ tsp pickling spice, tied into a small cheesecloth sachet
  • 2 – 6” cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Remove the leaves from the beets, leaving about 1” stem in place. Rinse under cold water to remove any clay. In very large stock pot, place the larger beets on the bottom, then the smaller ones. Cover the beets with boiling water and add 2 tsp cooking oil. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until beets are fork tender.
  2. As beets are nearing the cooked stage, begin making the syrup by combining the sugar, vinegar, water, pickling spice sachet, cinnamon sticks, and salt into a small stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and boil, uncovered, slowly for approximately 15-18 minutes.
  3. Remove cooked beets from water, rinse quickly under cold water, peel, and remove and discard stem and root ends. Slice hot beets into ¼” thick slices and pack into sterilized jars, leaving 1” headroom.
  4. Remove and discard the pickling spice sachet and cinnamon sticks from the syrup. Ladle hot syrup over beets leaving ¼“ headroom. Using a non-metal object, remove any air bubbles from the jars and add more syrup as necessary to fill jars to about ¼“ from the top. Wipe each jar rim with a damp cloth. Seal immediately with heated lids. Screw on jar bands just until resistance is met.
  5. Process filled jars in hot water bath according to canner manufacturer’s directions for the proper time for your local altitude.
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Pickled Beets
Pickled Beets
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