Pickled Beets

beetsThe only way I preserve beets is to pickle them as we don’t care for them canned. So we eat them out of the garden from June to October and then enjoy pickled beets year around. These can be added to salads or eaten on their own, and you can leave out the spices or change them up to your taste. The key ingredients are good beets, sugar and white vinegar–and white onions if you like those pickled and want to toss some in to spice up your beets. This recipe is fairly standard, as is essentially Beth’s Grandmother’s Pickled Beets in the Madison Area CSA Coalition Cookbook, From Asparagus to Zucchini.

Pickled Beets. Directions for 6 pint jars:

Boil or steam 5 pounds of whole beets until tender. Drain, reserving 2 1/2 c. of the cooking liquid. Cool.

Meanwhile, fill your canner 2/3 full of hot tap water, and about 15 minutes before the beets are done start heating it up.

Once you’ve got the water bath heating up, add the following to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a simmer:

2 1/2 c. sugar
3 c. white vinegar
2 1/2 c. reserved cooking liquid
2 1/2 tsp. whole allspice (I only had ground and still used it)
10 cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon

While the juice is simmering, peel the skins and cut the end pieces off your beets. This can be done with your fingers–the peel should slid off with a bit of rubbing. My 3-year-old granddaughter, Auden came over to help me with this batch, but decided the beets felt too slimy to peel. So she stood by the sink telling me knock-knock jokes and nibbling on pieces of cooked beets while I peeled skins.

Slice the beets into rounds or julienne strips. I prefer rounds for canning and then have options when I serve them to cut them into julienne strips later.

Pack beets (and slices of white onion if you are using it) into pint jars that have been washed and sitting in hot water. Fill the jars with the juice leaving 1/2 inch head space. Jiggle or use a knife to get rid of the bubbles, wipe the rims, screw on the caps, and process in boiling water bath for 30 minutes.

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