Sep 29, 2010

Easy pickled beets

Brilliant ruby red and deeply flavored, these pickled beets will make your fall salads a lot more exciting – if you can resist eating them straight from the jar. Don’t worry about the amount of sugar called for here – it’s actually less than a lot of recipes call for, and you’re not drinking the liquid (well maybe you are, but that’s your little secret!)

They’re particularly great in an arugula salads and grain salads (barley, farro, quinoa). For a shocking pink presentation, stir pickled beets into yogurt. Give it a Mediterranean twist by adding garlic and olive oil. Or add some cumin, cilantro and a chopped serrano pepper and you’ve got beet raita like I served with last weekend’s Indian dinner.

These pickled beets will keep about a month in the refrigerator, but eat them within a week because they get very overpickled!

Pickled beets

3 pounds medium beets, greens removed (leave a half inch of stem)
2 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
6 bay leaves
1 large onion, thinly sliced

Put the beets in a saucepan, cover with water and boil for about 25-30 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain, rinse in cold water, peel and cut into chunks.

Bring the remaining ingredients – except the onion – to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Layer the beets and onions into four pint (or two quart) jars, and pour the liquid over. Let cool before covering the jars. Refrigerate for two days before eating.


  • Will

    I’m a big fan of the ones that someone posted on Bitten at

    I’ve made them both with bitter orange juice and with a mixture of more easily available citrus, and they’re delicious either way. If you don’t like spicy food, you can back off on the habaneros, but they’re great with them.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Ooh, that sounds amazing. I will try it with the rest of my beets! Thanks, Will.

  • Cathy, I’m so happy to have found your site! What a wonderful array of healthy food you have here. I would love to try those pickled beets but sadly, my husband has a serious beet aversion. He is leaving town for a week and I’m contemplating making them every night. :)

  • cathy

    Don’t forget to add a couple of peeled hard boiled eggs in the jar. Then in a few days you have purple pickled eggs and another item to add to your salad.

  • Zoe

    How long are these good for? Its summer and I was hoping to maybe crack one open soon, but I really wanted to wait until later to eat them.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    They should last a month or longer, but I like them best in the first several weeks, because they get more and more pickle-y as time goes on, and they may become too intense.

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