Friday, July 16, 2010

In a Pickle...

Today I had to wait until my hubby went to work before I cooked these beautiful beets. Alas, I am the only beet lover in my household. I just don't understand how anyone could resist those beautiful crimson orbs. It seems that there's no "middle of the road" for beets- either you love them or you hate them. But if you've only been exposed to the tired beets you find on restaurant salad bars, I can't say I blame you. Those look like the beets I grew up with, but bear no resemblance whatsoever in flavor.

My mom typically served (still does, for that matter) beets two ways. She'd either have them hot with a little bit of melted butter and sugar, or cold with vinegary spices. My favorite? Pickled beets. I like to make small batches of these and keep them in the refrigerator instead of processing them. Sometimes I include thinly sliced onions, and sometimes I don't. They're great with sandwiches or salads or just a cold snack right out of the refrigerator when you know you want something but just can't put your finger on it. And when the beets are gone, do yourself a favor and put some peeled hard-boiled eggs in the pickling liquid overnight for a pickled egg treat!

Spicy Pickled Beets ( I usually half this recipe unless I am canning the beets.)
recipe slightly adapted from the Ball Blue Book 
4 pounds beets (1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter)
2 cup thinly sliced onions
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon, broken
(Or you could use a couple of tablespoonfuls of pickling spice in place of the individual spices.)
  • Wash and drain beets. Leave about 2 inches of the stems on the beets. Cover with water and cook until fork tender. (This takes quite a while, and depends on the size of your beets.)
  • When beets are done, remove peel and trim off the ends. Leave whole if they're small, or slice. (I usually slice mine about 1/4 inch thick.) Set aside.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add beets and cook until hot throughout. Remove cinnamon sticks.
  • If you are canning these, pack hot beets and onions into prepared hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Ladle hot pickling liquid over beets, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 30 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
  • If you are not canning them, pack beets and onions into jars and cover with pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Yield: about 4 pints


  1. i have a love-hate relationship with beets. i definitely prefer them pickled, as the cooked version turns my stomach a little bit. i've never spiced them up with cinnamon--that's a surefire way to make me love them. :)

  2. I adore pickled beets and have a similar dilemma. No one in my family other than me will eat them. It's a bummer. Your beets look wonderful. Their color is magnificent. I hope the day treats you well. Blessings...Mary

  3. I LOVE the cute dishes.... where on earth did you get them?

  4. Jan, Those are Weck canning jars. I got some at a local thrift store and liked them so much I ordered a few more from They have several different shapes and I love them all!

  5. I just discovered I like beets! Thanks for the info on the jars.

  6. I envy those jars...that's the interior designer talking ;o)

    Now, the 'Foodie' is saying hats off to your preserving...because, not that I don't roast beets and enjoy them...I leave the pickling to my mother-in-law that makes them amazing. So, for now, why take away her joy?

    I'm still taking down your recipe in case I'd like to surprise her one day with something a little different ;o)

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  7. You and I are quite the pickling crew lately! I'm not SUCH a beet lover but I really think I could love anything in pickled form. Love the spices you used!

  8. i love beets! and pickled stuff! sounds delicious!

  9. Oh YUMS! I love pickled beets but have never tried to make them myself. Sounds great with all those spices!

  10. Luck for me both my husband and I love pickled beets. I am going to give your recipe a try!

  11. My husband won't touch them either but I love them! Thankfully, I passed my love of beets on to my daughters. I'll have to try your recipe after my next trip to the farmers' market!

    I just love the shape of your jars! Are they currently available for purchase somewhere?

  12. I don't ever think I've seen beets look so good. I love those jars too!

  13. I adore beets. And my mother used to make the most divine pickled beet salad! I'm going to make your recipe for pickled beets and then see if I can recreate it!

  14. I made this recipe yesterday and it's perfect. PERFECT! Half a jar gone already!

    Thank you very much!

  15. Caitlin,
    You're welcome! So glad you like them!

    The Jars:
    The jars, for those of you who have shown interest, are Weck canning jars made in Germany. I found a couple of boxes at a thrift shop nearby and loved them. Then I went online to find the rubber rings I needed for them and of course found a few more jars I had to have. :) You can find them at

  16. I love pickled beets! Yours look so good.

  17. I am so going to make these. I may just have to find the jars too because they look so fun!

    Trevor Sis Boom

  18. do you put your spices into a cheese cloth bag, before putting then into the brine? Thanks Ruth

    1. I do...Putting them in a bag makes them much easier to remove. Hope you try them- they're so good! :)


Thanks for stopping by scrambled hen fruit! I appreciate all of your comments and look forward to reading them.

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