Preserve It! Pickled Beets

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I was at Matarazzo’s  farm stand in Caldwell buying up all the apples I could to make and preserve applesauce when I started perusing the beets. I learned  that  beets are “coming up” and now is  the time to buy.

One of my favorite items in a salad is beets, but for some reason I just can’t eat them out of a can. So, I’ve decided to make my own. This is a first for me. I have to be honest here– I read the recipe about six times before it really made sense to me. I’m going to simplify what I have as much as possible but this should be easier to follow than what I started with. And, if you want to try making pickled beets without the canning/hot water bath process, here is a recipe for making them in the refrigerator.

Not sure what to do with pickled beets? See the recipe below.

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What you need:

Canning supplies– canner, jars and lids with bands

10 cups of beets

4 Tbsp of pickling spice

5 cups white vinegar

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2 cups water

2 cups granulated sugar

What’s next:

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Prepare your beets (the beets need to be cooked ahead of time)

  • Leave the root and 2 inches of the stem intact to prevent bleeding.
  • Scrub thoroughly and sort by size, placing larger beets on the bottom of a saucepan and smallest on top.
  • Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 20-40 minutes depending on the size of the beets.
  • Remove beets from saucepan as they are cooked and run under cool running water.
  • Drain and slip off the skins and remove root and stems.
  • Leave baby beets whole and halve or quarter larger beets.

Prepare your pickling liquid:

  • Tie pickling spice in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag. (I found pickling spice in Shoprite)
  • In a large saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar and spice bag. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  • Reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes, until spices have infused liquid.
  • Discard spice bag.
  • Add prepared beets and return mixture to a boil.

Fill your jars:

  • Remove jars from dishwasher- be sure they are hot- you will be pouring boiling liquid into them.
  • Using a slotted spoon, ladle beets into hot jars to within a generous 1/2″ top of jar.
  • Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover beets, leaving 1/2″  head space.
  • Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
  • Place jars in canner and be sure they are completely covered with water.
  • Bring to a boil and process for 30 minutes.
  • Lift jars from water and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Remove jars and let cool.

Here is a recipe from home chef Palma Quagliata for a beet salad using pickled beets.  There are no specific measurements, but that leaves plenty of room for creativity and experimentation, Enjoy!

In a glass bowl, mix together:

  • Sliced or small chunks of beets  ( I prefer the chunks)
  • Thin sliced red onion (1/4-1/2 of an onion depending on your taste)
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Crumbled blue or goat or feta cheese
  • Good olive oil
  • Season to taste with salt & pepper

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