old school pickled beets

Burwell Store recipe swap time again! This months vintage ditty is a Russian salad, that actually didn’t sound too scary for a change! One main ingredient in the salad is pickled beets, so I thought I would step this swap back and do a DIY pickled beet recipe.

It has been a crazy busy tough start to this month and I had a massive basket of freshly pulled assorted heirloom beets to deal with before hitting the road, so I zoned into my kitchen canning meditation and got my beet on!

These beets are sweet and tart with a gentle hint of cinnamon and a kick of ginger root. Made with apple cider vinegar and cane sugar, these seem to please most folks and make for lovely salad additions in the midst of cold winters, or a simple jar full of snack food to be attacked by the forkful!

If someone gives you a jar of pickled beets, they must really like you! Seriously the process is messy and has way more steps than lots of other pickled things do, so be grateful for any you receive!

Here is how this breaks down…

As with any canning project, it’s all about multi tasking and having many pots on the boil at a time. You need to start by sterilizing your jars and keeping them warm (either in a hot water bath or in the oven), while warming your canning lids and also getting your sweet brine up to a gentle boil. The key to successful canning, is keeping everything super spanky clean, sterile and smoking hot!

You’ll need about 6 lbs of beets and this recipe yields 8 pints.


4 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

3 cups cane sugar

8 x 1/8″ slices of fresh peeled ginger

4 cinnamon sticks or 2 tbsp cinnamon nibs

1 tbsp sea salt

Bring to a gentle boil stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Once all your pots are boiling away you need to wash and trim the tops of the beets leaving behind about 1″ of stock and all of the tail. Boil the beets for about 25 minutes (depending on size, you want a fork to easily pierce the beet but still be ever so slightly firm in the middle. Remove beet from boiling water and soak in cold water, then using your finger and the edge of a spoon remove the skin, root and the base of the stock.

Quarter or eighth your beets into similar sized bites (or slice them all into 1/4″ rounds) and fill your hot and sterilized jars up to the neck with beet pieces. Add 1-2 slices of fresh ginger root (peeled) into each jar and a small piece of cinnamon stick or some nibs. Top each jar to 1/2″ head space with boiling brine. Wipe jar top clean and place hot lid on jar, then screw ring to finger tight and water bath process in rapidly boiling water for 15 minutes (for pint jars). Ensuring the water covers your jar lids by at least 2″.

After 12 hours or so, ensure all of the lids are sealed tight, any that are not can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks, or could be re-processed.

Allow the beets to settle into their new flavor bath for a few weeks before enjoying, or cracking open to make a russian salad if your say flush in herring, or best yet give as holiday gifts to people you really love!

Check out everyone else’s recipe swap:

7 Responses to “old school pickled beets”

  1. I made quick refrigerator pickled beets, but now I want yours! They look so tasty!!

  2. Love pickled beets! And I love that you concentrated on one aspect of the swap recipe. Genius!

  3. I didn’t know there was ginger and cinamon in the recipe, interesting. I haven’t made pickled beets before but I love borsch and make it about once every 6 months to freeze. It’s so low cal and yummy. win win

  4. You know, I attempted pickled beets once, a few years ago. I should give it another try, with these flavorings. Sounds fascinating, and seems like a great salad addition.


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