I love beets, but admittedly, not so much by themselves. The earthy notes, yes. The root veggie texture, yes. The sometimes muddy overtones, not so much. Hence pickling makes perfect sense, in that the added zing brings a nice snappy note to the flavor profile. I like the deep spice notes of cinnamon and clove in concert with the lighter, sweeter vanilla and lemon in that mix; together, they’re just really, really good.
As with all produce, chose your beets carefully; select nice, firm ones with no lesions or soft spots.
Pickled Beets, (Yield 5 – 6 pints)
5 Pounds fresh Beets
2 cups Granulated Sugar
4 cups White Vinegar, 5%
3 cups Water
1 3″ stick Cinnamon
Juice of 1 medium Lemon
2 teaspoons whole Cloves
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
Sterilize jars, lids and rims in the dishwasher or a pot of water on a rolling boil, minimum of 10 minutes.
Peel beets and cut into 1/2″ thick slices; make sure your sizes will fit your jars, (Which is why I always get wide mouth).
In a stock pot over high heat, combine all ingredients but the beets. Stir steadily until sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
Toss in the beets, reduce heat until you’ve got a nice even simmer, and allow the beets to cook for +/- 15 minutes, until the slices are fork tender.
Carefully transfer the sliced beets into your jars, arranging so they’re filled to within about to where the neck of the jar starts.
Fill the jars with the pickling liquid to within 1/4″ of the top. Place lids and hand tighten each jar.
Process in a hot water bath, making sure your water temp remains above 180 F. throughout. Make sure that you’ve got at least a couple of inches of water above tops of your jars and leave an inch or so between each jar.
Process for 30 minutes if you’re below 1000 feet above sea level. If you live at higher altitude than that, refer to the NCHFP page for processing beets.
Store in a cool, dark spots and allow at least 6 to 8 weeks before sampling, so your beets get full advantage of the pickling.
E & M