The first time I really enjoyed beets is when I finally gave in and tried my parents' pickled beets. They were a revelation. I couldn’t believe that I had disdained these bright red root vegetables for so long, although I don’t think at age 10 I actually used the word disdained. I doubt I even knew the definition of that word at the time. Well, for the first time in my life my parents did not have to force me to eat my beets. Since then, I’ve come a long way. I love beets, and find many ways in spring and fall to incorporate them into my cooking often.
While my entire family loves to pickle all sorts of things, these are still one of my favorites, especially because after you finish eating these you can use the bright red pickling liquid to make Red Pickled Eggs which, to this day, remains one of my favorite things in the whole world.
makes 1 quart
1 1/2 pounds Beets
1 cup Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tsp. Canning Salt or Kosher Salt (do not use table salt)
1 each Cinnamon Stick
10 each Cloves, whole
1 1/2 tsp. Allspice, whole
1/2 tsp. Yellow Mustard Seed
2 each Bay Leaf
1 each Onion, small
Place beets in a deep baking dish. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover with aluminum foil and bake, at 375°F for 45-60 minutes or until just barely tender. Allow the beets to cool. Peel the beets and remove any stems. The skin should slip right off the beets. Slice or dice the beets to your liking. Personally I like to cut them into larger chunks about 3/4 – 1 inch in size. Peel and slice the onion into 1/4 inch rings. Toss with the beets and place into a sterilized glass canning jar.
Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in a nonreactive sauce pot and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Strain, return to the pot and bring to a boil. Pour boiling liquid over beets and onions, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Top with sterilized lid and allow to cool to room temperature. Place in fridge and allow to mature for at least 2 weeks before eating.
While I usually just make these and refrigerate them, these beets can be easily and safely canned for long term storage. Follow the same directions as above, but leave the beets slightly undercooked. Once you have covered the beets with the pickling liquid, place the lids on the jars and place in a boiling water bath and process for 15 minutes. Make sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch, and don’t start timing until the water returns to a boil. After 15 minutes remove the jars from the water and allow to cool to room temperature. Immediately refrigerate any jars on which the lids did not seal properly. Store the rest in a cool, dark place and they should last a year.
This same exact recipe can be used for golden beets with the same success. I just wouldn't combine red and golden beets in the same jar as I'm not sure what color beets you would end up with.