Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Cooking and Produce
Beets Add Variety to Table: Plain, Fancy or Pickled!
Karma Metzgar, C.F.C.S. Former Northwest Regional Nutrition Specialist, Nodaway County Extension Center, University of Missouri Extension
Our “baby” beets are ready for harvest! While we won’t
have a huge crop, we’ll have several meals worth. We like
our beets buttered. Sometimes I harvard them (thicken the
sauce). Others like them pickled. Pickling beets is easy and
if you have any left you can can them.
I had a question the other day about pickling beets. The
person didn’t care to can, but had beets in the garden and
loved pickled beets. I suggested storing a batch of pickled
beets in the refrigerator instead of canning.
I’m sharing the recipe and directions for pickled beets
from the University of Missouri Extension guide Pack a
Pickled Product (GH 1459). If you would like this guide,
which also has information on sauerkraut, dilled beans,
pickled cauliflower, corn relish, dilled okra, pickled
peppers, pickled zucchini, and refrigerator pickles, call
your local extension center. Or, access the guide on the web
(Yield: About 8 pints)
7 pounds beets, 2 to 2½ (two and one-half) inches around for slicing, or 1 to 1½ (one and one-half) inches for whole
4 cups vinegar (5 percent)
1 1/2 teaspoons (one and one-half) canning or pickling salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
4 to 6 onions, 2 to 2-1/2 (two and one-half) inches around (optional)
Procedure: Trim off beet tops. Leave 1 to 2 inches of
stem and roots to prevent color from bleeding. Wash beets
thoroughly and sort them by size. Cook similar sizes
together by covering them with boiling water and cooking
until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes).
Drain and discard liquid. Cool beets. Trim off roots and
stems and slip off skins. Slice in ¼-inch slices. Peel and
thinly slice onions.
Mix vinegar, salt, sugar and fresh water. Put spices in
cheesecloth bag or paper coffee filter bag and add to
Bring to a boil and add beets and onions. Simmer five
minutes. Remove spice bag. Fill jars with beets and onions.
Leave one-half inch headspace. Add hot vinegar mixture, and
leave one-half inch headspace. Adjust lids and process 35
minutes in a boiling water bath for pints or quarts.
If you don’t want to process the pickles, store in the
refrigerator up to one month.
If you find pickles too tart, it’s best to add more sugar, than to mess with the acid ingredient - vinegar. The level of acid in a pickled product is as important to its safety as it is to its taste and texture. Do not change the amounts of vinegar, food or water in a recipe. Don’t use a vinegar with unknown acidity. Only use recipes with research-tested amounts of ingredients like those found in extension guides.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009