Pickled Beets With Whole Spices
In the middle of the winter, it is always so nice to serve this dark purple pickle with a hearty roast beef dinner, cooked carrots and mashed potatoes. But don't reserve these pickles for just using as a side in the winter months. Since these beets are pickled using only a small amount of honey for the sweetener, they are a nice, sweet, savoury addition, sliced thin on your salads or in a veggie sandwich with soft goat cheese.
YIELD : 4-500 ml jars
WATER BATH PROCESSING TIME: 30 minutes for altitudes of 1000 feet or below. Adjust processing time for other altitudes.
- A large 12-20-litre pot for cooking the beets ( I usually cook up 6 lbs at a time.)
- 8-litre stainless steel pot
- canning pot
- wire basket or tray for the bottom of the canning pot
- jar lift
- magnetic wand for lid placement
- 4-500 ml sterilized jars with lids and rings
- slotted spoon
- disposable gloves
- 3 lbs beets leave 1" of the stem on the beets
- 4 cups cider vinegar 5% acidity
- ¼ cup honey I like to use local honey from one of the farms in my area.
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1 tsp whole allspice
- optional: ½ tsp whole cloves
- ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1½ cups water
- To peel the beets: Fill your large pot with water ⅔ full and bring to a boil. Add the beets whole and boil for 20-30 minutes. The timing of when your beets will be done will depend on the size of the beets. The beets are ready to peel when a fork can pierce the beets.
- When there is only 5 minutes left on your timer for cooking your beets, fill a clean sink with cold water and add two trays of ice cubes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer your beets to the cold water in the sink. When the beets are cool enough to handle you can start peeling them.
- I wear gloves when peeling beets to prevent the beet juice from staining my hands. Sometimes the beet skins just slip off easily when rubbed, and sometimes I have to use a paring knife.
- Peel the beets and quarter. If the beets are really large you can cut them in eights.
- In an 8-litre pot, combine the water, cider vinegar, honey, salt and whole spices and bring to a boil. Add the beets and continue to cook until the liquid returns to a boil. Once this happens the beets are warmed through and ready to put in the jars. Discard the cinnamon sticks.
- Fill each sterilized jar with the beets and then top with the brine leaving ½" headspace at the top. Try to add a couple of the whole spices to each jar as you fill.
- Run a thin plastic utensil or a chop stick along the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles. Really press around on the beets. If after doing this there is room to add another beet, go ahead and add it but make sure that you still maintain ½" headspace.
- Wipe each jar rim with a paper towel or cloth dampened with hot water.
- Top each jar with a washed and briefly warmed snap lid. (I put the snap lid in boiling hot water for 30 seconds, this softens the seal.) Add the sterilized ring and tighten to finger tip tightness.
- Process using the boiling water method in a canning pot for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, shut off the stove top and let the pot rest for 5 minutes with the lid on. (Leaving the pickles in the pot resting for 5 minutes as the pot slowing stops boiling will help prevent liquid from coming out of the jars when you remove them from the pot.)
- Remove the jars using a jar lift and place on a cutting board. Do not disturb for 24 hours.
- Remove the rings and inspect the jars. Wipe the jars clean with a soapy cloth. Store the pickled beets without the rings on in a dark cool place for up to a year. If any jars have failed to seal, store in the fridge and use immediately.
- The flavour of the pickled beets will be best if you let them sit for three weeks or more before opening.
Often, the beets I grow in my garden, I eat fresh. So, when beets are available at the farmers market, August through to the end of September, I pick up a half-bushel. This amount will allow me to process at least 4 batches of this recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!