Pickled Beets Recipe – Taste of Southern

Joy of cooking pickled beets recipe

Pickled beets You’ll be surprised how much better homemade pickled beets taste compared to the ones you buy at the grocery store. Here’s another way we’re “Saving Summer in a Jar,” with our pickled canned beet recipe. Try them and see the difference for yourself.

<img src="https://www.tasteofsouthern.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pickled-Beets_slider1.jpg" alt=

“Pickled beet recipe” /> Pickled beet recipe: I’m not going to tell you that I’m a big fan of

pickled beets

and I can’t wait to make them every summer. Well, at least I haven’t been in the past. However, all that may have changed now.

Some time ago, I bought a jar of pickled beets at the grocery store. I had stumbled upon information on the internet about how good they were and how good they were for your body. So I thought I’d give it a try. Big mistake for me. I put the jar in the refrigerator to cool down and a few days later I tasted them. Ugh… I hated them. I have no idea what brand I bought, but they didn’t have any appeal to me. They tasted more like DIRT than anything else. I was very disappointed and knew I would never eat again, so I ended up throwing them in the trash that same day. Lesson learned.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I visited the roadside produce stand of my friends Flora and Bill. They had just taken out some fresh beets and had them for sale. Through our conversation, I ended up telling them about my past affair with Pickled Beets. That’s when Flora walked into her home and returned with a sample of some of her pickled beets. They were delicious.


from there, I told him I had to have the prescription. She agreed and I told them I would come back the following week to buy some beets because I wanted to make some of my own.


cut Floras’ recipe in half because she made a few more jars than I thought I needed. I ended up with 6 pints, but I could easily have had 7 and you’ll read about that below. I must admit that they were a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I had problems with the skins of the beets that did not “slide” as expected. Even though you had cooked them for the suggested time, you may have let them cool longer than they should. I practically ended up having to peel the skins, which added a little more time and energy to the process.

Also, keep in mind that beets will stain their surfaces very quickly. Be very careful about anything you come into contact with. I would suggest using plastic cutting boards and wearing gloves every time you work with them. Use paper towels to clean instead of your kitchen towels… unless you want to change its color to pink.

Let me know if you give them a chance. I’d love to know how yours turns out. Mine are sitting for a few weeks to achieve a better pickled flavor and I haven’t tried them yet. You can leave us a comment in the section at the bottom of this post and you will also find a printable recipe at the bottom. So… If you’re ready….. Let’s cook!

Pickled beets, ingredients.Pickled

beet recipe: You will need these ingredients.

Pickled beets, trim tops. We will start by trimming the top of the beets. Cut the leaves, leaving about 2 inches of the stems and all the roots intact. We do this to prevent the color of the beetroot from draining and bleeding while we process the beets. I was lucky because the farm where I bought the beets cut my leaves. It was a step I didn’t have to do myself.

Pickled beets, wash the beets. Place the beets

in the sink and cover with cold water


Pickled beets, rub gently with your fingers. DO NOT use a brush to clean beets


Simply rub each one gently with your fingers to remove any dirt. Beets are a root vegetable … which means that beets grow under the ground. Simply rub them gently to remove any clumps of dirt and dust. Eventually we will cut the tops and roots… In addition… We will remove the skins completely in the next steps.

<img src="https://www.tasteofsouthern.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pickled-Beets_05_rinse-and-let-drain.jpg" alt="Pickled beets, rinse and

drain.” /> Drain the dirty water, rinse them again with cold running water and place them in a draining strainer. … Pickled beetroot, pot with water.

Place a large pot on the stove and fill it about halfway with water. Bring to a low boil.

Pickled beets, sort by size if necessary. If you have multiple sizes of beets, you should sort them by size as best as possible. The smaller ones will cook much faster than the larger ones, of course, and you don’t want the baby to overcook.

Pickled beets, add beets to boiling water. This is where my plan to cook the beets went awry. After adding the larger beets, I quickly realized that THIS pot wasn’t going to be big enough.

I should have poured the water into my pot of preserves and proceeded with the plan, but… That would have been too easy. I would have needed to add more water and let it boil before continuing. It was a good idea, but going ahead and adding them to the pot that was ALREADY boiling seemed even better. Well… at least at THAT time.

He had planned to start cooking the larger beets, then as time went on, he added the medium size and when it dropped to about 10-15 minutes, he added the smaller ones. I thought that that way, I could cook them all at the same time and then not overcook the really smaller beets. Only it didn’t. I had to cook the bigger ones, remove them, then cook the middle, remove them, then cook the smaller ones. Oh, well… It was a good idea at least. It was also probably the reason why the skins did not glide as expected. We must learn from our mistakes… Right?

Pickled beets, remove from water. When they have finished cooking as suggested, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon. I put mine back in the sieve.

<img src="https://www.tasteofsouthern.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pickled-Beets_09a_discard-water.jpg" alt="Pickled beets,

discard the water.” /> Be sure to DISCARD THE WATER in which you have been cooking the beets. … <img src="https://www.tasteofsouthern.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pickled-Beets_10_let-cool.jpg" alt="Pickled beets, let

the beets cool.” />

Let the beets cool a little. I placed them in my strainer that was sitting on top of my canning pot.

Pickled beets, put the beets back in the sink.

Then, I put them all back in the sink.

Pickled beets, remove stems, roots and skins. Use a peeling knife and cut the upper stems, roots and then remove the skins. Yes, right… Not so fast in which to peel the part of the skins.

Pickled beets, prepare the onions. Prepare the onions next. I had decided to go with red onions in mine. I thought the color would just blend in. He also had a large white onion… in case you needed it.

Pickled beets, cut onions. Looking at this picture makes me cry… What about you?

These onions had just come out of the garden and really gave me a hard time while cutting them. I didn’t want to use full onion rings in my jars, so I decided to cut the onion in half, into quarters. After that, I cut the quarters into the slices you see here. I wanted to use smaller pieces in each jar. Try to keep the slices about 1/4 inch wide.

Pickled beetroot, separate the rings. As you’re probably already crying… Go ahead and take the extra time to completely separate the slices. It will simply make it easier to add them to jars once we start filling the jars for the canner.

Pickled beets, prepare the spices. Then, go ahead and prepare the cinnamon sticks and cloves. I used 2 of the cinnamon sticks whole and about 12 whole cloves. You’ll want to break the cinnamon sticks. They are quite difficult, so be careful when trying to break them. Place the spices on a layer of gauze.

Pickled beets, tie the spice bag. Group the side pieces of the gauze and tie the top. This bag of spices will be dropped into the vinegar solution we are about to prepare and then removed so that we do not have spices floating in the jars.

Pickled beets, set the stove for canning. Here, I have set the stove for the canning process


This has become my standard way of doing things. The large canning pot is on the right front burner. On the left front is the pot I normally use to cook the item being canned. Back to the left is the pot I use to place my lids and bands over low heat. The larger pot on the right back contains water that I warm up and keep ready to add to the canning pot as needed during the canning process. This setup has worked pretty well for me over the years, so why switch?

Pickled beets, add vinegar. Add vinegar to the pot. You should make sure that you are using a vinegar with 5% acidity. It will tell you directly on the bottle. This is recommended for any type of pickling you do. I’m using white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.

Pickled beets, add water. Now, add the water. I know it looks like the picture above, but this really is water I’m pouring into the pot.

Pickled beets, add sugar. Add

the two cups of sugar


Pickled beets, add pickling salt. Add the “pickling salt” to the pot. This is not your ordinary table salt. You can usually find pickling salt with canning supplies from your favorite store… or… in the spice section of your favorite grocery store.

Pickled beets, wash the jars. While the vinegar mixture heats up, go ahead and fill your sink with some hot water and soap to wash your jars. Even new bottles should be washed with detergent. It’s a good time to take a close look at the jars… especially the top tires… to make sure they are not chipped or cracked. I thought I was doing a good job of doing it, but, as soon as I started filling my jars, I found one that was chipped on the lip. Be sure to check the jars carefully.

Pickled beets, sterilize the jars. After washing and rinsing the jars … Place them in your canning pot and boil the water. The jars should boil for 15 minutes.

NOTE: It is also acceptable to use your dishwasher to clean and sterilize the jars. Newer dishwashers have a cycle only for such purposes.

Pickled beets, heat the lids and bands. You will ALWAYS use NEW caps when canning. Bands can be reused, but never try to cann new products using old lids. Be sure to wash the bands and check them to make sure they are not bent.

Place the lids and bands in a small pot with warm water. I put hot tap water in my pot and then place it over the lowest heat setting on my stove. You just need to warm them slightly to soften the rubber around the bottom edge of the caps to ensure proper sealing. DO NOT boil the lids at any time. Just let them continue to warm up while everything else speeds up.

Pickled beetroot, dissolved sugar. Watch the mixture of vinegar, water and sugar. Stir frequently until the sugar has completely dissolved.

<img src="https://www.tasteofsouthern.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pickled-Beets_27_add-spice-bag.jpg" alt="Pickled beets, add the

spice bag.” /> Once the sugar is completely dissolved… Place it in the bundled bag of spices.

Things are about to get a little busy now. It’s one of the fun parts of the canning process as things start to come together.

It can be a little daunting the first couple of times, but, the more you do it, the easier it will be. It’s always good to set up areas ahead of time so you know you have everything handy and you’ll be ready as you’ll need them. I have the long towel on the back to put my hot jars as they come out of the cannery. The hot pad is for my pot of beets once I take them off the stove. I’ve found that cleaning is much easier if I sit my jars on a plate to fill them. And, having the jar lift and other tools ready only makes you much more efficient. It’s like setting up an “operating room,” I think. I just needed someone to wipe the sweat from my forehead at this point. Ha!

Pickled beets, add beetroot to vinegar mixture. Now it’s time to cook. Grab some kind of rubber glove and start placing the beets in the pot. The mixture of vinegar and sugar should have started to reach the lowest boiling point by now.

Pickled beets, add the onions. Add the sliced onions just above the beets. Then, gently start stirring the onions and beets together. You’ll probably need to increase the heat at this point, as we want the whole pot to simmer again. Once they start boiling, keep stirring gently and let them boil for 5 minutes.

Pickled beets, remove the pot from the stove. After 5 minutes, remove the beets from

the stove and sit them next to their jars. … <img src="https://www.tasteofsouthern.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Pickled-Beets_32_spoon-into-jars.jpg" alt="Pickled beets,

place the beets in the jar.” />

I used a large slotted spoon to place the beets and onions in the jars. The funnel really comes in handy at this point. Fill the jar up to 1/2 inch from the top with the beets and onions.

Pickled beets, lightly pack the jars. Here, I’m using the back of a spoon to lightly pack the beets and onions. I even took the jar and shook them a little. I would not do it with jams or jellies, but in this case it will help the beets settle more evenly in the jars.

Pickled beets, check the proper headroom. When the jar is properly packed with beets and onions… Use a ladle to add the mixutre vinegar. Pour it slowly and fill the jar up to 1/2 inch from the top.

Always check the bottle for proper headroom. The recipe says we need 1/2 inch of headroom on our pickled beets. Head space is the amount of space between the top of the beetroot and the liquid and, the top of the jar itself. Recipes vary based on the proper amount of headroom needed, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully for whatever you may be canning.

Pickled beets, remove any air bubbles. I have mentioned in some of my other canning recipes about using these wooden skewers. I find them to be a perfect little tool for running around the inner edges of the jar to help remove any air bubbles. Gently turn the jars and look for the bubbles and just push the skewer into the bubble… It will usually follow the skewer to the top and burst. Take out as many air bubbles as you can see.

Pickled beets, carefully wipe the edge. Use a clean, damp cloth and carefully wipe the top edge of the jar and around the edges where the band will go. You should make sure to remove any food particles that may be on top of the rim and any juice around the top and outside. We want this area to be perfectly clean so that the lids sit properly and create a proper seal.

Pickled beetroot, apply lid. Use your magnetic wand and remove a lid from the warm water. Simply shake the lid and carefully focus it on top of the jar. Try not to touch the red rubber ring on the bottom of the cap.

Pickled beets, apply the band. Using the magnetic wand again… Remove a band of warm water and wax it on the lid. Make sure it goes straight and don’t force it. Screw the band down and squeeze it slightly. Don’t use any force at this point… You just need to squeeze it “with your finger”.

Pickled beets, add the jars to the canner. Once all the jars are full and have their lids tight … Place them on the rack inside your cannery. The grid has handles that hook on the upper outer edge of the pot. Hook the handles over the edge while adding the jars. The jars are in the water at this point and you want to make sure they are sitting up.

As it turned out, I ended up with enough beets to fill six jars. I had already removed the only jar I discovered had a chip. I would have gone in the central area above, but… I didn’t need it any way. Of course, I packed my jars fairly tight with the beets and onions. I plan to bring a jar into our local fairs, so I pack them up a little tight. And yes, I had too much water in the canner. Once I lowered the jar rack, I took out some of the water so that everything wouldn’t turn around.

Pickled beets, dip the jars. Wear some oven gloves and lift the handles and roll up and out of the upper lip of the cannery. Gently lower the rack into the boiling water. You will need about 2 inches of water over the top of the jars for the rest of the time they are going through this water bath process.

Pickled beetroot, covered. When the water has boiled again, cover the can with its lid


You’ll need to check the recipe below for proper time to process beets in your area. It will vary depending on the ALTITUDE of where you live. For me, I had to let them stay underwater for 30 minutes. You’ll need to check them a couple of times to make sure they remain completely submerged at all times. Water can boil pretty quickly. That’s why I keep that extra pot of hot water in the burner right behind the canning pot. Since I need it, I can add hot water to the pot. It always seems to be helpful in keeping that extra pot of hot water. Try… You can thank me later. (Smiles)

Pickled beets, remove the jars from the water. After they have gone through the proper amount of time for the water bath, remove the lid from the can and set it aside. Then, use whatever you find useful to grab the handles and lift the shelf out of the water. Slide the handles back into the upper lip of the canning pot. Grabbing water handles can be a bit tricky, so be careful and don’t get burned… that water is still HOT. Take my word for it. Just say!!!

Simply let the jars sit here for about 5 minutes. Then, use the jar lift and carefully remove each one and sit it on a towel placed on your countertop. This should be a draft-free area… especially off a direct road with air conditioning vents.

Pickled beetroot, let stand overnight. Jars should remain in this place for 24 hours without being moved or disturbed


DO NOT PRESS the central parts of the bottle caps at this point. You should start hearing that sweet little “Ping” noise when the lids start sealing. For me… That’s the best part of the whole process. You’ve worked hard to get them to this point and that little ping as air is sucked out of the jar is a huge reward in my book. As the air is extracted, the center of the lid is pulled down and makes that “ping”. I love it!!!

After 24 hours, you’ll want to look closely at the top to see if you can tell if they’re sealed correctly or not. It’s okay at this point to press the lids. If pressing the lid doesn’t make any noise… Are you ok. But, if the center of the lid rises again when pressed, for some reason, the jar does not seal. He could have had some small particle of food under the lid or something else that prevented him from sealing properly.

Beets would be fine to eat, but you should go ahead and refrigerate them at this point to keep them safe. Sealed jars can be stored in a draft-free, cool, dark place for up to a year or more.

Beets will also need a couple of weeks to properly “pickle” and get a good taste. They will just get better over time, so… Try to be patient. You’ve done well, so I know you’ll want to enjoy something soon. Congratulations… You’ve made your own homemade “pickled beets.”



Your comments: Do you make your own pickled beets? We’d love to hear if you try any of our recipes. Please take a moment to share your comments with us in the section below. All our comments are moderated. That means we read each and every one of them. We also respond to your feedback as often as possible, so after you leave us a comment, check back soon to see our response. Thank you for visiting us today. I hope you enjoyed our site and come back often.

Be blessed!!! Steve.


Tags: beetroot, preserves, onions, pickled beets

Category: Canned freezing.

Canzaciti.com Culinary specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

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