Pickled beets are 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Historical References to pickling Beets
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
How to Make and Can Pickled Beets
- 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.