Pickled Beets

This has been the summer of pickling for me. Know that Portlandia sketch?

The one where they pickle everything? Yeah, that is totally me right now. I blame beets. Beets started my whole summer obsession with pickling. You see, we have this neighbor, Pete.

Pete gave me beers and produce. This made me happy.

Pete gave me beers and produce. This made me happy.

Pete has a garden that puts mine to shame, I mean his garden makes me want to cry is it so awesome. And he is very generous with letting me come over and pillage his garden. Every time I go up to our summer ranch, he invites me over and lets me pick produce (like once a week, between my garden and his, I haven’t bought produce in months). Needless to say, I’m a pretty big Pete fan right now.

The first time Pete turned me loose in his garden was after a long day working on the ranch. I had lost both pant legs to eye patches for the cows, I hadn't had a shower, I wasn't wearing make-up and I had eye patch glue all over my hands. Garden time was much needed and very much appreciated!

The first time Pete turned me loose in his garden was after a long day working on the ranch. I had lost both pant legs to eye patches for the cows, I hadn’t had a shower, I wasn’t wearing make-up and I had eye patch glue all over my hands. Garden time was much needed and very much appreciated!

Want to know the really funny thing? I don’t like most of the things I am canning. Actually let me re-phrase that, I didn’t like most of the things.¬† I finally tried the beets and they were amazing, why didn’t anyone tell me pickled beets are good?

I’ve decided to share some of my pickling recipes. Not that I am making anything that is super rare, or you can’t already find on the internets‚Ķ.

The beets I picked.

The beets I picked.

I got this recipe out of the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. I modified it slightly after lurking a bunch of other recipes. I am very happy with the finished product.

Pickled Beets

(this makes about 6 pints of pickles beets)

3 quarts beets (like 12 big ones)

2 cups white sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

1 Tablespoon whole allspice

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

3 1/2 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 cup reserved water from boiling the beets

This is what you do:

Wash the beets really well.

Silly helped! She tasted the greens to make sure they were good.

Silly helped! She tasted the greens to make sure they were good.

Place them in a large pot and boil until a fork is easily inserted (I cut them in half to shorten the cooking time).

Boiling beets.

Boiling beets.

Once your beets are cooked the skin should slip right off.

Beets remind me of breaking down a carcass. They are so messy and red!

Beets remind me of breaking down a carcass. They are so messy and red!

Slice or cube your beets. Combine all ingredients except the beets, in a large saucepan.

Your pickling mixture.

Your pickling mixture.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks.

Packing warm beets into hot jars.

Packing warm beets into hot jars.

Pack beets into hot jars (I put my sterilized jars in an 180 degree oven and use as needed), leaving 1/4 inch headspace.

Wine helps.

Wine helps.

Ladle hot liquid over the beets, making sure to leave the 1/4 inch headspace. Remove the air bubbles.

Remove the air bubbles and clean the top so you get a seal.

Remove the air bubbles and clean the top so you get a seal.

Adjust the two piece caps.

Hot, clean caps help with a good seal!

Hot, clean caps help with a good seal!

Process pints or quarts (I used pints) for 30 minutes in boiling water.

Make sure you have at least two inches of water covering you processing cans!

Make sure you have at least two inches of water covering you processing cans!

Process for 30 minutes!

Process for 30 minutes!

The older I get the more and more I am realizing how lucky I am/was, to be born into a family that valued canning and pickling. I have wonderful memories of both side of my family canning fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies in the summer. I know many people are intimidated to try and can because it is unfamiliar to them. But you guys, I promise, it’s not really that hard and when you hear that “pop” of the can sealing, it is so worth it! I urge you try it! If you have questions, ask me, I’d love to help!

Pickled beets by me. The fruits of my labor. YUM!

Pickled beets by me. The fruits of my labor. YUM!

21 Comments

Filed under Ag, agriculture, arts & crafts, food, History, Humor, Know a California Farmer, photos, Ranch life, Recipe, Uncategorized

21 Responses to Pickled Beets

  1. We grew beets one year but I had no idea what to do with them – they are going back on the list for next year because these look delicious and I overcame my fear of canning and already did jalapeno jelly so maybe I can do this too!

  2. karen

    I’m going to make can some beets this weekend. I have one question – do you drink the wine while you can? I didn’t see it in the recipe but it totally caught my eye! LOL! Thanks for a great recipe and pictures!

  3. somedude

    you can also store beets in sand. harvest, do not wash, trim greens to about 1″ above fruit, place in plastic tote, cover each row of beets with slight moist sand, cover with tote lid, then store in tote cool dark location. last years are still great, harvested in Sept of 2014. I will do this warm bath canning as well. thank you!

  4. Tom Krach

    A printer-friendly version would be a nice addition. 15 pages of a pickled beets recipe is too much.
    Thanks,
    Tom

  5. Sara

    Just made this and was wondering if this should be refregerated or stored at room temperature?

  6. Rosa Flores

    I’ve never tried this and I’ve always wanted to do this, but you’re right it’s very intimidating. I will have to get the courage.

  7. Cheryl

    First off I would never cut an uncooked beet. They lose too much during the cooking process. Secondly, I thought you said these didn’t need processed because of the vinegar.

    • Megrbrown@gmail.com

      My directions are for a processed beet. They pickle because of the vinegar. As far as losing too much during the cooking, I don’t know about that. This is just how I do it, it works for me.

  8. Rebecca

    Do you have to leave them set for so long before you eat them?

  9. Karen Diamond

    Do the beets get mushy? I was wondering because they’re cooked until fork tender then cooked again in a water bath. I did this with pickles once and they turned to mush!

    • Megrbrown@gmail.com

      These stay fairly firm

    • I have never canned pickled beets, my mother always canned them and they was so good. Yesterday a good cousin gave me a 1/2 bushel of homegrown beets. I called my sister in law for Mom’s recipe, she gave me the Blue Book Recipe for pickling beets. That is what Mom always used. She passed away in 2010. I am so thankful we still have her recipes. She had 8 children, 2 daughters and 6 sons, and boy did we eat good. Thank you for your recipe, first time I seen this blog. I hope to use it again soon. Have a great summer 2017.

  10. Teresa Dow

    Lovely recipe and appreciate you sharing it! Very tasty and fragrant while boiling the liquid. My store cupboard is filling up with all the pickling I’ve been doing. Nice to go through winter with a taste of summer.

  11. Marcia

    I use to make beets like this but never processed them, do you have to???? What would be the difference? I don’t have a proccesor. I didn’t use to use one but wonder if there is a reason I should now.

  12. DeAnn

    I did a lot of canning with the boiling bath. I hated canning. The last few years I have used the steamer method and I don’t mind it so much. Love doing pickled beets. Couldn’t find my recipe and fortunately found yours first. It is the one I have used. Lol

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