These beets are delicious right out of the jar, and can be served as a salad or side dish. The flavors of the spices and the brine are lighter than in most traditional pickled beet recipes. Using red wine vinegar and the beet cooking water preserves the rich burgundy color of the beets.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Canning Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Yield: 3 - 4 pint jars
3 pounds/1.4 kg beet roots (weighed without the greens)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 1/4 cups/354 ml red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup/177 ml beet cooking water, or plain water
- 1/2 cup/113 gr sugar
- 2 teaspoons/9.3 gr kosher or other non-iodized salt
- 8 whole allspice
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half lengthwise
Wash the beets and put them into a large pot. Cover the beets with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until you can just barely pierce the beets with a fork.
It is important not to overcook the beets as they will continue to cook during the canning process. After this first cooking, they should still be slightly underdone, i.e. don't cook them as long as you would if you were going to eat them right away. This will take 10 - 25 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
While the beets are cooking, peel the onion. Cut it in half and then into thin slices.
Once the beets are cooked, use a ladle to scoop out 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Set that aside. Drain the beets in a colander.
When the beets have cooled off just enough to handle, peel them. Tip: While the beets are still hot, the skins will rub off easily. If you wait until they cool completely, the job will be much harder.
Slice the beets into chunks or slices between 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.
Fill clean pint jars (it is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe) with the beets, onion and spices. Leave 1/2 inch of space between the top of the vegetables and the rims of the jars. Layer the onion slices in as you add the beets. As you add the vegetables, put 2 whole allspice, 1 whole clove and 1/2 cinnamon stick in each jar.
In a small pot, bring the vinegar, cooking water, sugar and salt to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve. Pour the hot brine over the other ingredients in the jars. The food should be completely covered with the liquid and there should still be 1/4 to 1/2-inch of head space in each jar.