Pickled Beets is one of my favorite vegetables. Is it yours? I have made my pickled beets and shared them. For the ones who like beets they absolutely loved them, But the ones who just don’t like beets told me they just didn’t care for them. Some liken the taste of beets to dirt. I just don’t get that. Before I get to my easy pickled beets recipe. Just what are beets?
What Is Beets
Beets are also known as beetroot. There are many varieties of beets but the most common is the Detroit Red Beet. This is the variety I plant in my garden and what I use to make my pickled beets. Beets can be cooked or eaten in several ways. Many use beets in salads. Some just heat beets right out of the can. Then there are Harvard beets. These are thickened with a mixture of cornstarch, sugar, water, and vinegar and served warm. Of course, then there are pickled beets. These are usually pickled using vinegar and sugar. Pickled beets are usually best when chilled before eating.
Beets can be somewhat tough to grow. They need to be “babied”. They prefer cooler weather. When you plant beets, the ground needs to sustain moisture to promote germination. You can also soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours prior to planting. To maintain moisture, after planting the seeds, water and then lay a board over the top of the planted area. Plant the seeds 1-2 inches apart. After they have come up you may have to thin them. The seeds are tiny and are not always easy to plant 1-2 inches apart.
My husband usually sprinkles the seeds in the prepared row, which makes thinning necessary. Many use beet tops or greens in salads in place of spinach or salad greens. In fact, the beet greens are more nutritious than the beetroot itself. So when thinning, save the beet greens.
I prefer my beets a little on the small side. I really like to pickle whole beets, but there are times when I get busy with work or family and I don’t get out to the garden early enough and the beets are bigger than I wanted them. Just don’t let them get too big. They will wind up tough and “woody”. To harvest the beets, I just loosen the dirt around the beet and then pull the green top straight up. Be careful not to pull on the top too hard.
You can also use a small garden spade and dig to the side of the beet to loosen the surrounding dirt. But be careful not to cut into the beetroot itself. If so you will need to use them immediately. I usually set my beets on an outside table to let the dirt on the beets dry. Cut the green tops about 1-2 inches from the top of the beet itself. I cut these also before bringing the beets into the kitchen. You can keep these in the fridge. I myself, only keep them this way no longer than 5 days. I try to cook them straight away if I can.
Canned VS Fresh
There really is no different nutritional value between canned beets and fresh ones except maybe the sodium content. The recipe I found was in an old cookbook I had received as a wedding gift. The recipe did call for canned beets. But of course, I substituted with fresh. I will add both versions. I just did a little experimenting with the amount. Canned vs fresh to get just the right taste.
The Original Pickled Beet Recipe
2 cans (1pound each) sliced beets
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
2 three-inch cinnamon sticks
Drain the beets, reserving the liquid in a small saucepan. Add sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon sticks to the reserved liquid. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Pour over beets, cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
My Version Of Pickled Beets
My beets are not always ready all at the same time so I am usually forced to do them over time. I just calculate the amount I harvest and adapt the recipe to the amount of beets I have. Example: If I have 4-5 pounds of beets I double the amount of sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon sticks. I usually only double the recipe and then any subsequent beets I harvest, I keep them in the fridge until I have 4-5 pounds for the next batch.
I know this sounds like a lot of work but I only do about 3-4 batches a year. Depending on the size of the beets I usually get about 5-7 pint jars of beets each batch that I do. This will usually get me through to the next year as the only ones that eat them are my daughter and myself plus a few jars to share with co-workers and friends. I have never tripled the recipe as I never get enough beets at one time. This is a great opportunity for you to do some experimenting on your own if you have a larger harvest of beets. My husband doesn’t plant a large amount of beets.
Wash the beets and add them to a large stockpot. Cover with water and bring to a gentle boil and cook until tender. This usually takes about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Cool slightly then peel and slice. I like mine either whole if they are small enough or cut into halves or quarters. Cover with water then drain water off and reserve. Add the sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon sticks to reserve liquid in a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling stirring constantly. Pour over beets, cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight. This allows the cinnamon sticks to do their job. Infusing the beets with that wonderful cinnamon taste!
Canning Your Pickled Beets
Make sure your jars are clean and sterilized. Fill the jars with the beets and add the liquid to cover the beets. ( I use pint jars ). Please leave me a comment below. Add the lids and band rings to the jars. (I sterilize my lids and ring bands before using). Add the jars to a large stockpot with a rack and cover the jars with water. Make sure the water covers the jars at least 1-2 inches above the top of the jar. Bring water to a boil cover pan and boil for 10-15 minutes. Gently lift jars out of the pan and set them on the counter to seal.
The pan I use is this one
Enjoy Your Pickled Beets
Enjoy your canned pickled beets all year. It is so easy to just go to the cupboard and grab a jar when the craving hits. Save a jar or two to share with friends. My co-workers anxiously anticipate when summer arrives and I make my pickled beets. They always ask me to bring a jar or two to work:)
You can grow them in your backyard. I do! Check this out: Backyard garden
If you don’t have a vegetable garden you can always use canned beets or buy fresh in the produce department of your local grocery store.
Do you like pickled beets? If so try this recipe. If not give it a try anyway. It might change your mind. Leave a comment below.
Have A Wonderful Day!