Monday, August 3, 2015

Pickling Summer--Beets and Beyond

My mother didn't have a pantry or cellar filled with jars of colorful canned fruits and vegetables.  While I have fond summer memories of mother and nanny "stringing" green beans, those beans were for our next meal.  They went into a pot rather than a jar for our winter's dining.  However, there were several aunts who did preserve food by canning.  When we visited, we usually came home with a jar or two of something that had recently been "put up".  My favorite was beets.  From an early age, I loved those beautiful roots!  Bell's Blue Book of Canning is a part of my cookbook library--has been for years.  Many times I've pulled it out fully intending to preserve something of a summer garden.  So far, that hasn't happened except for pickled things.  Things that can line up on the refrigerator shelves.  I have tried many pickled beets recipes and have liked them all.  Here's the one I use most.

Easy Pickled Beets

1 bunch of red beets
1 bunch of orange beets
(8 good-sized beets total)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
salt to taste
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon sugar

Wash the beets and place, unpeeled, in a saucepan, cover with water, add 1/4 cup of the vinegar and salt to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Simmer 30-40 minutes until tender.  Remove from the heat, add the garlic to the pot and allow the beets to cool in the liquid.

Remove the beets and the garlic from the pot, reserving the liquid.  Peel the beets and cut each into wedges.

Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar and the sugar.  Stir to dissolve and add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the beets.  Toss with the beets and the garlic.  Refrigerate for at least two hours and up to a week. 

Serve cold or warmed.

And, delicious on sandwiches and in salads, 

Pickled Red Onion

1 large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
3 Tbsp sugar
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
5-6 whole allspice
4 whole cloves

1.  Place all ingredients except the onions into a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a simmer.
2.  Add onions and simmer, stirring occasionally for about ten minutes.  A bit of crispness should remain.
3.  Pour all into a jar.  Cover and refrigerate for up to a month.



  1. It's wonderful how much our childhood comes back to us. Your beets look beautiful, you can't beat them for gorgeous color. And the pickled onions … now that I might try!

  2. I have never cooked a beet in my life but the beet soup you showed recently got printed out and I want to make it. At Whole Foods the other day they had 3 or 4 varieties that were gorgeous so next trip back is going to be the time!

  3. mother did a ton of pickling and pickled about anything she had... this looks good and pretty to look at to. not sure if i am posting yet or not. trying it out to see how it goes

  4. I love beets! My mother canned and froze veggies and fruit all summer long. Our summers were filled with work!
    Just last week a friend of mine told me her Amish neighbor kids brought two huge beets to her. She said she didn't have any idea how to use them do she sent the kids back home with them again. So funny....and I'm SO jealous of her neighbors! I'd take those beets in a heartbeat :)

  5. I've pickled green tomatoes and I 've pickled sliced eggplant, but the only thing I've canned is tomatoes. I've bought pickled beets, but I can see from your recipe that it would be easy to make my own. The onions also sound good, Bonnie!

  6. My mom ALWAYS pickled her beets..Love those memories.

  7. Beets are one of my favorites and we have pickled beets with Sunday dinner often:@)

  8. I love both pickled beets AND pickled onions! This is just the inspiration I need to squeeze in a little project before my summer ends. :)

  9. My mother froze things ran than canning. Your beets are gorgeous Bonnie. My husband would love them.

  10. Great looking beets, Bonnie! You know I love them :) I'll give you recipe a try!

  11. my mum didn't ever pickle things either. I think it must be a generational thing because I tend not to do it although i know I should! I adore beets too so i'm mad really. Yours looks so lovely x


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