Sunday, July 6, 2014

Spicy, Sweet & Sour Pickled Beets



I got a hold of some really lovely beets a few weekends ago at the Farmer's Market. I was going to juice them to make my favorite beet juice mix.

... But then I was inspired by one of my favorite food bloggers, Katie Zeller at
Thyme for Cooking, who recently published a post on pickled beets. Check out Katie's site, her recipes are delish and her stories about cooking, life in France, her adorable dogs and her mon mari never fail to make me chuckle.

After her post I knew I had to make pickled beets. 

But there were conditions ... I wanted them sweet, sour and spicy. 

After all, I have a jalapeño bush bursting with red peppers and I have a Thai pepper bush also bursting with little fire cracker red peppers. 

(Don't be afraid of the heat, use as much or as little as you want. Just a little tiny kick is good.)

And so ... my recipe was created and damn if those beets aren't just right! Oh man, are they good!

Also, this is a recipe for canning, so be sure to visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation to learn food safety and safe preparation methods. 

You can also skip the canning process and place all the beets and liquid in one big jar in the fridge. After initial use, it'll be good for about 2 months. Let it "stew" for about two weeks in the fridge before digging in.

You use this on grilled meats, fish, salads, pretty much anything or just enjoy alone with a glass of white wine, that's my favorite.

Makes about 5 half pints
  • 2 lbs., medium sized beets, cooked peeled and sliced into 1/4" discs
  • 2 cups of red onions, sliced into half moons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups beet cooking liquid
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice, whole
  • 1 - 3 jalapeño* peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 - 2 Thai* peppers, with slits on one side. (optional)

  1. Clean beets thoroughly, remove greens*, but leave root intact to avoid excess juice from eking out.
  2. Place beets in a large saucepan*, cover with water, add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar - to further guard against excess juice eking out..
  3. Bring to rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Remove from pan, allow to cool under they can be handled. The skin will not peel off easily.
  5. Add all ingredients except for beets into a large pot, bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  6. Add beets to simmering liquid and allow to heat through.
  7. Spoon beets into sterilized jar, then fill each jar with cooking liquid, leaving 1/2" head space.
  8. Wipe rims of jar, put lids and rings on the jars and hand tighten
  9. Process* for 30 minutes in a water bath
  10. Remove jars and allow to cool for 24 hours then further tighten lids
  11. Let "stew" for two weeks before eating*.
Serve on salads, hot dogs, burgers or just eat as is! ENJOY!

*Recipe Notes:
If you can't find or don't have white balsamic vinegar (available at Trader Joe's) just use apple cider vinegar.
You can prepare the beets a few days ahead. You can even make them in the slow cooker, by cover with water and cooking on high for 4-5 hours or low 8-9 hours.
Saute greens in butter, olive oil and garlic for a nice side, or use it for juicing.
Before canning be sure to visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation to address food safety and safe preparation methods.
You can eat them right away but if you let the flavors meld for a few weeks, I promise you will enjoy the beets even more.
You can skip using the peppers or just using one type of pepper. Each offer a different type of heat and I like the combination.

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