Bring your crop of beets from garden to jar by making pickled beets and enjoy these colorful, vitamin-packed vegetables all year long. Beets are high-fiber foods rich in essential nutrients, including folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C, which work together to lower blood pressure, aid in digestion, and increase blood flow throughout the body.
The taste of raw beets is earthy and not appealing to everyone; however, pickled beets are often more palatable to the masses. Follow our robust guide to making pickled beets, complete with recipes, tips, and the best varieties to grow so that you can fill your pantry with pickled beet goodness to enjoy them throughout the year.
How to Make Pickled Beets
Before we learn how to make pickled beets we must answer the question, what is pickling? Pickling is a method used for preserving foods, particularly vegetables. It allows us to make the crops that we grow in the summer and fall last through the winter. The technique requires putting foods into a vinegar and salt or brine solution with the intent of keeping the produce from spoiling or breaking down.
Salt and vinegar solutions tend to suppress mold, bacteria, and yeast growth, allowing the vegetables that are soaking in them to stay intact and last much longer than if they were exposed to the air. Unlike other canning methods, when something is pickled, it gains a fermented element that alters the taste of the pickled item.
Traditional Pickled Beets Recipe
- 3-4 pounds beets
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pickling salt
- 1 cinnamon stick (broken into pieces)
- 2 teaspoons whole allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
19 Steps to Making Pickled Beets
- Prepare pint-sized mason jars so that they are sterilized and in simmering water in the canner.
- Trim one to two inches off the top of the beets, leaving the skins on.
- Place the whole beets in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a rolling boil.
- Continue to boil until the beets are tender. For young beets this should be approximately 20 minutes, depending on size.
- Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water and peel beets with a paring knife.
- Cut the beets into slices or small uniform sections as desired.
- Put cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a cheesecloth and tie off tightly.
- In a stainless-steel pan, combine the sugars, salt, vinegar, and water. Add the spice bag.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, until sugar is dissolved. Turn the burner on low and allow solution to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pack beets into hot sterilized mason jars.
- Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the jar rims.
- Remove the spice bag from the vinegar and sugar mixture and discard
- Using a canning funnel (wide or narrow, depending on your jars), pour the hot liquid over the beets, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Use a canning funnel to pour the hot brining liquid over the beets.
- Put the lids and bands on the jars. Secure gently without over-tightening.
- Place the filled jars in the canner water so that the water is at least 1 inch above the jars.
- Process jars in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove jars from the canner and set them out on the counter atop a clean dish towel. Allow jars to cool to room temperature and leave untouched for 24 hours.
- Re-tighten the metal bands and store them in the pantry for up to one year.
Old Fashioned Pickled Beets
People have been making pickled beets and enjoying the benefits of these deep crimson root vegetables for many years, and they didn’t have access to fancy canning equipment. They used a simple technique that is relatively easy to do, especially if you’d like to give pickled beets a try.
- 2 cups sliced or cubed cooked beets
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Preparing Pickled Beets
- Wash beets and trim off the tops and leaves.
- Place the beets in a large pot and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until knife-tender for about 25 minutes.
- Remove beets from water and allow them to cool.
- Use a paring knife to peel beets, and either slice them or quarter them into ¼ inch thick pieces.
Preparing the Brine
- Grab a medium saucepan with a cover and combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices.
- Bring to a rolling boil, stirring to prevent scorching.
- Add 2 cups of sliced, cooked beets.
- Return to boiling; reduce heat.
- Cover the solution and simmer on low for 5 minutes.
- Allow the solution to cool.
- Pour them into a mason jar and allow them to rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Store in refrigerator for up to four weeks.
Pickled Beets & Eggs
Another way to enjoy pickled beets is to combine them with hard-boiled eggs. Pickled beets and eggs are a tradition for many families and can be a great way to use your leftover pickled beets brine, or you can pickle them both together.
To use the leftover brine to pickle eggs:
Use hard-boiled eggs with shells removed and add the whole egg to the excess brine. Place the tops on the jars and allow the hard-boiled eggs to float in the pickled beet juice in the refrigerator for about one week. This will allow the deep red beet brine to penetrate the entire egg uniformly.
Pickled Beets and Eggs Recipe
- 12- 18 hard-boiled eggs
- 3 large sliced beets
- 1 Cup Apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 Cup sugar
- 1 Cup water
How to Make Pickled Beets & Eggs
- Place peeled hard-boiled eggs in a large mason jar.
- Place the beets in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Place the cover on the pan and simmer until tender for about 25 minutes. Remove beets from water and allow them to cool. Use a paring knife to peel beets and either slice them or quarter them into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
- Drain the beets and leave beet juice in a medium saucepan.
- Add the beets to the eggs in the jar.
- Add water, vinegar, sugar to the beet juice in a saucepan and boil for 15 mins stirring consistently.
- Add beet juice mixture to the eggs and beets and allow them to cool before storing in the refrigerator. Swish the jar daily.
- The longer the eggs sit in the jar, the more robust the flavor will be.
Best Beet Varieties to Grow for Pickling
Smaller, early season beets are more tender and sweet, making them ideal for pickling. Large beets can be too woody in texture and make them unappealing for eating in the pickled form. Deep red or gold beet varieties provide the most robust flavors, more vibrant juices, and more tender pickled beets.
As you embark on the pickled beets adventure, try some of these tried and true beet varieties to grow:
- ‘Detroit Dark Red’
- ‘Ruby Queen’
- ‘Detroit Golden’
- ‘Early Wonder’