Spring has arrived in the South, and along with it my weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. This year, I’m getting a weekly shipment of some fruits (strawberries) and mostly vegetables (collard greens) from Up In Farms, and I have to say, it keeps us eating healthy. It’s hard to stay on top of all the greens that arrive weekly and need to be eaten right away or prepared and frozen, but I love it when the box includes something I can easily “put up” (old-fashioned term for preserve) for later, like beets. It’s amazingly easy to slap some beets into the oven and make pickled beets when they’re done.
For years I avoided cooking with beets because I hated peeling them. That’s before I learned how to peel beets without a knife. Here’s how I do it now:
Some people boil beets before pickling them, but I like roasting because it concentrates the beet’s natural sweetness and minimizes the earthiness that some people find objectionable. I like my beets on the vinegary/tangy side, so I don’t add sugar, but you can always add some to this recipe if you want. Lately, I’ve grown fond of the ginger beets in the Whole Foods deli, so I added chopped up ginger root to this batch. It provides a very subtle hint of ginger, which I like, but if you want your beets straight up, you can omit it.
I love having pickled beets on hand to toss into salads. Just remember, they will turn anything they touch pink, so handle them carefully if you’re wearing white.
Roasted Pickled Beets
Roasting concentrates beets' flavors and brings out their sweetness. These tangy picked beets capture and preserve that flavor. For less tang and more sweet, see the Notes below.
- 3-4 beets
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root (may omit or substitute garlic)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash the beets well and trim off all but about an inch of the greens. Leave the "tails" on.
Place the beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold it over the top, and seal the edges. Place the package on a baking sheet and put it in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes and turn over the foil package. Bake for 25 minutes more. Test with a sharp knife to see if the largest been is tender in the middle; if not, give them a little more time.
Once they're tender, remove the beets from the oven and allow them to cool. Cut off the tops and tails and under running water, rub off the skin. Use a knife to remove any hard-to-remove skin.
Slice the beets about 1/4-inch thick. Place them in a pint or quart canning jar.
Combine the vinegar, water, ginger root or garlic, and salt. Pour it over the beets. If it doesn't cover the beets, add a mixture of half vinegar and half water to the jar.
Refrigerate. Beets will taste best after pickling for a couple of days. They should keep, refrigerated, for at least 2 weeks. Three average sized beets make about 1 pint of pickled beets.
I like these beets tangy so I don't add sugar, but if you'd like to take the edge off them, start with 1 teaspoon sugar and add more to taste.
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I hope you’ll give these easy pickled beets a try!