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Great-grandma’s Pickled Beets

Eat these beets straight from the jar or cube them and serve in a salad with spinach, walnuts and goat cheese.

by Heidi StrawnJuly 25, 2013

My great-grandmother made the best pickled beets. To serve them, she’d fill a bowl with the garnet pickles and their juice, then add a boiled egg that would absorb the beet color and flavor. This recipe makes 10 pints and is well on the sweet side of the pickle spectrum.

Yield: 10 pints


  • 9 pounds small to medium beets, rinsed clean
  • 5 cups cider vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 tsp. pickling spices
  • 3 tsp. pickling salt

Remove beet leaves, leaving about 1 inch of stems and root intact. Place in stainless-steel stockpot, cover with water and bring to boil. Check after 30 minutes for tenderness—you’re aiming for fork tender—and boil longer if needed. Drain, then soak in cold water until cool enough to handle. Slip off peels, cut off stem and root ends, and slice into 1/4-inch–thick medallions.

Combine remaining ingredients in large pot, and bring to boil. (You can put the spices in a cheesecloth bag if you want to remove them, but I like canning them with the spices in the jars.) Boil brine for 15 minutes, then add beets and boil for 1 minute to heat through. Fill hot, sterilized jars with beets, then add syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace to completely cover beets. Process in a hot water bath as recommended for your altitude.

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