Days on the Homestead - Pickled Beets. - The Magic Onions

Days on the Homestead – Pickled Beets.

My dear friend, Camille, is back to share her days on her homestead with us. She shares her recipe for Pickled Beets!!! I LOVE beets and LOVE anything pickled but have never tasted pickled beets… we are going to make these in our house for sure!

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Pickled Beets by Camille

We’ve had a bumper crop of beets this summer. That’s okay with me because I am a true beet fan. I could eat a lunch of beets with chevre and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for days on end. Eventually, though, I decided to change it up a little with a batch of pickled beets. You know, preserve the bounty of summer for some cold January day.

Beets are easy to grow. You can sow the seeds directly into the ground anytime between February and August (in Oregon) for a main season crop. When they’re about three weeks old, thin out the seedlings, and throw the extra greens into a salad for a little color and flavor. The roots should be mature enough to harvest when they’ve been growing for about two months.
To start this recipe, get yourself some beets. If you don’t have any in your own garden, hit up your local farmers’ market.
I pulled, trimmed the greens off, and washed several pounds of mixed-size roots for this batch.
A couple onions add flavor to pickled beets, so I grabbed a few Walla Wallas out of the garden.
Cut your beets into bite-size-ish chunks.
Beware that beet juice stains, so use a cutting board that you’re not particularly fond of and wear a red shirt.
Steam the beets until tender.
While the beets are steaming, thinly slice your onions. Figure about one medium onion per 4-6 quarts (8-12 pints) of pickled beets.
Sterilize enough jars to hold your cubed up beets. You can use pints or quarts.
Pack beets and onions into jars.
I like to use “pickling spice” in my beets. It’s a blend of about 10 different herbs and spices (coriander, peppercorns, crushed bay leaves, dill seed, chiles, etc.). If you are particularly motivated, you could mix up your own spice medley, adding or omitting in accordance with your personal preference.
If desired, add about 1 tablespoon of spice mix to each (quart) jar.
Aren’t they pretty? I would make pickled beets just to put them on the shelf for my viewing pleasure.

When your jars are packed, you’re ready to start the pickling brine.
The most important factor here is that you maintain a ration of 2 parts vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar) to water. This solution will be your primary preservative. Pour it into a pot, and set it on medium heat.
Add honey. Beets have natural sweetness to them, but some folks prefer their pickled beets to be VERY sweet. That’s not really my style. I was trying to keep the sugar down in this batch, so I added about 1/4 cup honey to 6 cups solution. In the end, my beets were very acidic, and I wish I had upped the honey to perhaps 3/4-1 cup per 6 cups solution. Use your own judgement for sweetening.
Bring your vinegar-water-honey solution to a rolling boil.
Fill your jars with hot brine, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Add canning lids and lightly screw on rings.
At this point, your pickled beets will be delicious but not shelf stable for the long term. Without canning, you can store them in the refrigerator indefinitely (or at least for a couple months), allowing you to use a few or a lot when you want them.

If you need to preserve them for many months, use conventional boiling water canner processing as per Oregon State University Extension‘s recommendations for pickled beets (30 minutes of boiling in a canning pot).
After you eat a jar of pickled beets, and all you have left is that gorgeous pink brine, you’ve got to try pickled beet eggs. Hardboil a few eggs, re-boil the brine, and then pour the hot brine over the eggs in a jar. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or so. The pink will permeated the white of the egg, so they’ll look fabulous and they’ll taste great, too.

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Oh YUM! Such super instructions, Camille… I think even I can make yummy pickled beets now. Thank you :-)

Dear Readers, I know you are wanting to delve deeper into Camille’s gorgeous homestead. You can visit her on her blog, Wayward Spark.
Camille also has a lovley Etsy shop where she sells the most beautiful wooden cutting boards (you saw them in the photos… aren’t they to die for!)… do yourself a favor and have a look at her stunning pieces … Red Onion Woodworks.
Thank you, Camille, I look forward to your next visit very much :-)
Blessings and magic, 
Donni
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Donni

Donni Webber is the mom behind the popular natural living Waldorf website and blog, The Magic Onions - where the magic of nature and the wonder of childhood collide to make each moment a precious gift. She is a photographer, writer, crafter, wife and mother of two inspiring young children. Her work has been featured in many popular publications, including HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Disney and Apartment Therapy.

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Comments

  1. mmmmm. I grew up on pickled beets. I miss them like crazy. Now I just might have to go out to the farmer’s market this weekend and see what I can find!

    blessings,
    Amanda

  2. The honey sounds like a good idea, I’ll try that next time – had to give all the last batch away as they got too pickly.
    You could also try roasting the beetroot whole (a la Good Housekeeping). Trim roots & leaves but don’t pierce skin. Wrap in tinfoil & cook at 180c/350f/gas 4 for 2-3 hours (depending on size). I cut them up on the tinfoil on a plate when they have cooled as they are soft. Might be easier on the chopping board…

  3. Well done great beets tutorial
    Reminds me of Grandmas garden ….

  4. I love pickled beetroot (and cabbage and onions and…)

    We typically get a glut of them (I have a carrier bag through I need to process before the next lot is picked) so there’s plenty of pickled beetroot, roast beetroot, chocolate beetroot cake, soup, etc. I think the one thing that hasn’t been attempted yet is beetroot wine and now I have a pantry with floor space…

    I shall have to try this recipe with honey though :0)

  5. I also canned some beets from our garden this year. A trick my mom taught me is to wash the beets(really good), trim the tops and leave about 1 inch on, and do not cut the root off. Then cover them in water and boil until done. The skin will slip right off and the beets won’t “bleed” with the part of the top and root on. Then strain the water and use that as the water in the recipe. This will make beautiful red beets!

  6. Just picked my beets from the raised bed this morning. I can them every year, but never like this.I am so anxious to get started on this today. And of course saving some for eggs in beet juice.

  7. One more comment to this. I always steam my beets, let them cool and then take the skins off, They will peel off easily after they heat up.

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