Make Ahead

Pickled Beets

April 18, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Makes 4 Pints
Author Notes

Beets are pretty versatile little amaranths. They can be boiled, steamed, roasted or pickled. Even raw they can be shredded and eaten on or as a salad. In New Zealand and Australia it is popular to throw one on a hamburger. Watch your aim, please.

And their greens make delicious, well, er . . . greens. You know, like spinach. Tasty and nutritious from stem to stern! —vivisue

What You'll Need
  • 24 Small Beets (2-2 1/2")
  • Water
  • 3 Medium Onions
  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Canning/Pickling Salt
  • 1 cup Water
  • 6 Whole Cloves (you can put some in the jars just before the boiling water bath, too)
  • 1 Stick of Cinnamon
  1. Remove beet tops (greens). You can store these in your refrigerator and we will talk about what to do with them in another recipe for Sauteed Greens.
  2. Wash beets well. Put beets in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave until tender, but not mushy. Different microwaves, different cooking times. Check after 10 minutes on high and continue to microwave for 2 or 3 minutes at a time until done. Tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from microwave and carefully remove plastic wrap. Watch out for the burst of steam. By using the microwave, you don't dilute the flavor of the beets with water and the color remains extra deep and vibrant. I've tried it both ways and the microwave is by far more better. Yes, I said, " . . . more better . . . " It's just me.
  3. Leave beets on the counter to cool long enough that you can hold them. Coat your hands with canola oil. This will keep your hands protected from staining much. Take a paper towel and place a beet in the towel and rub the skin off. Really. This works great. Do this for all of them.
  4. Cut into equal slices or wedges - whichever you prefer.
  5. In a large saucepan or medium stock pot combine vinegar, sugar, salt, 1 cup water and spices. Tie your spices up in a cheese cloth bag so you can easily remove them later. Bring to a boil; add beets and onions; simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag now.
  6. Ladle beets and onions into 4 hot pint jars, cover with juice, filling to within 1/4" of jar top. Wipe jar rim; adjust lids. Don't put a Mountain Man twist on the lids. Just enough to feel the resistance. Not enough to strip the threads on the lid . . . honey.
  7. Process in a boiling water bath 30 minutes. Start to count processing time when water in canner returns to boiling. Remove jars and complete seals unless closures are self-sealing type (which most all of them are these days). Makes 4 pints.
  8. This recipe is my adaptation from the original recipe published in the "Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook- Prize recipes from the Farms of America". Edited by N. Nicholls and C. Larson. 1963

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • vivisue
  • Martyfisher77

2 Reviews

Martyfisher77 August 16, 2020
What a terrible recipe! I have pickled beets and other vegetables for many years. This one seemed interesting with the onions and the use of the microwave over steaming. Maybe I have a bad microwave (I rarely use it) but it took 40-50 minutes and the skins did not slip off like they do when beets are steamed or roasted. I had to scrape them with a knife, even though they were done inside. This added quite a bit of time. The recipe called for 24 “Small” beets. (Weight is much more accurate, especially with home gardeners like me, who will have some 4-inch some 2-3 inch and some 1-inch.) I used 23 from our garden, some more than the 2-21/2 inches specified, some less. It said the yield would be 4 pints. I got 9 pints. I had to do a second recipe of liquid to fill the jars. Wtf. I don’t feel I can trust food 52 anymore. I would appreciate a response. This recipe was irresponsible. It means a lot to me since I grew the beets myself. Trusted you to help me turn them into delicious pickles. Never again!
vivisue August 16, 2020
I'm so sorry you found this recipe did not work for you. I actually made these and recorded my measurements, time, and ingredients exactly as written. I wish I could know what might have gone south for you. I adapted it straight from the "Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook- Prize recipes from the Farms of America". Edited by N. Nicholls and C. Larson. 1963. I don't think blaming Food52 is quite fair since this is only a platform for recipes, not recipes that Food52 developed or tested.