This pickled beets recipe is one of my most favorite recipes for canning. Sweet, savory, spicy, they’re an awesome side dish, topping for a salad, or served next to meats and cheeses on a charcuterie plate!
These pickled beets are sweet, sour, tangy, and full of deep deliciousness!
Beets are one of my favorite things to grow because they are very hands-off. Throw some seeds in loose soil and they’re drought tolerant, pest resistant, disease resistant.
Plus the greens can be harvested and sautéed to replace spinach, or added to a salad, or a great fodder for animals.
Two harvests in one!
For more info on growing beets (seriously the easiest things ever!) check out my post: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Beets.
One of my favorite ways to cook the pickled beets, when introducing them to someone who is skeptical (ahem, Dylan!) is to drain the liquid (reserve for pickling eggs!) and roast them in the oven until soft, or just a tad browned.
Nutritional Value of Beets
In doing research for this post I was surprised to find that beets were not as nutritionally packed as I assumed they were.
One cup of sliced pickled beets has 148 calories, .2g of total fat and 1.8g of protein.
However, it does contain 9% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C, 6% of riboflavin, 15% of our RDV of Folate, 10% of our RDV of potassium, 25% of our sodium, 13% of our cooper and 25% of our manganese.
Historical References to Pickled Beets Recipes
Before I make any new recipe, I look in a handful of the historic cookbooks I have.
The Virginia Housewife is my go-to (as a Virginia housewife myself), however she didn’t really have much to say about cooking beets in general.
Are not so much used as they deserve to be; they are dressed in the same way as parsnips, only neither scraped nor cut till after they are boiled; they will take from an hour and a half to three hours in boiling, according to their size; to be sent to the table with salt fish, boiled beef, &c. When young, small and juicy, it is a very good variety, an excellent garnish, and easily converted into a very cheap and pleasant pickle.Mary Randolph, The Virginia Housewife
However, The Frugal Housewife (1803) had a decent pickled beet recipe:
Put into a gallon of cold vinegar as many beets as the vinegar will hold, and put thereto a half an ounce of whole pepper, half an ounce of allspice, a little ginger, if you like it, and one head of garlic. Note: Boil the beets in clear water, with their dirt on as they are taken out of the earth, then take them out and peal them, and when the vinegar is cold put them in, and in two days they will be fit for use. The spice must be boiled in the vinegar.
Susannah Carter, The Frugal Housewife
Variations on This Recipe
This recipe par-boils the beets to make it easier for the skins to slide off, but you can also roast them.
You can use apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or rice wine vinegar.
Play around with the herbs and spices! For a spicier variation omit the cinnamon and add some sriracha to the brine! Use a dill and garlic pickle brine. Experiment and have fun!
Recipe and Canning Tips
Make sure to scrub off all of the dirt from the beets. Being a root vegetable with folds and texture to the beet root skin, it’s easy for dirt to hide and adhere to it.
Once you’ve opened your jar and eaten your beets, reserve the pickling liquid! It can be used again to make pickled eggs.
If you’re intimidated by the canning portion, skip it and keep them in the fridge! This pickled beets recipe will last in a sealed jar for up to 6 weeks.
If you are canning, ensure that all of the beets stay submerged under the brine. (The narrow mouthed canning jars help with this).
How to Make This Pickled Beets Recipe and Can It
Whether you grow your own beets or buy them from the store, the very first step is to remove the greens and thin taproot from either end of the beets.
Scrub them as best you can under cold water with a vegetable brush and simmer them in a pot of water for roughly 20-30 minutes (or until the skins easily peel off).
Strain and allow to cool. Once cool enough to touch, rub off the rough skin and slice your beets into rounds or quarters – whatever will fit nicely in your mason jars and will work well with your favorite pickled beets recipes.
If you’re self-conscious about your hands being stained red, you may want to wear gloves.
In a separate pot, bring the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil and stir until everything dissolves.
Fill your sterilized mason jars with the raw onions, beets, 2 whole cloves and 4 allspice berries.
Ladle the brine over the beets while it’s still hot and fill to the top, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
Secure your lids and rings and process in a hot water bath for 30 minutes.
Remove and let cool on the counter overnight before testing your seal.
Then enjoy them!
- 4 lbs beets, washed and roughly chopped
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 cups white or apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp pickling & canning salt
- 16 allspice berries
- 8 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Remove the greens and thin tap root from the beets.
- Wash them thoroughly and boil them in a pot full of water until the skins easily peel off (roughly 20-30 minutes).
- Strain and cool. Remove the rough skin and slice in rounds or quarters.
- In a separate pot, bring water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a boil until everything is dissolved.
- Fill your sterilized mason jars with the raw onions, beets, 2 whole cloves and 4 allspice berries.
- Ladle the hot brine over top, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Secure your lids and rings and process in a hot water bath canner for 30 minutes.