There’s a restaurant in Peterborough called St. Veronus, where I was first introduced to the deliciousness of the spiced pickled beets. Beets on their own, boiled and served with butter, are terrific, and pickled beets are fine, but spiced pickled beets are something else altogether. My sister Sammi found this recipe a few years ago, and while it’s not exactly the same as the beets they serve at St. Veronus, I might believe that these beets are better.
I think I’ve said before that I’m not a proponent of specialty gadgets and tools for cooking, but some things I do endorse. A kitchen scale is excellent, and if you’re canning, a wide-mouthed funnel is really helpful. As well, if you’re doing the hot-water method of canning, a set of hot-jar-grabbing tongs is completely useful.
Note: I’m not a canning expert, just an enthusiast, so please do more reading before you start to make sure you’re doing it safely.
Spiced Pickled Beets
6 lbs. beets
3 cups white vinegar
1 teaspoon pickling salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
8 allspice berries
Most of the items listed below are standard canning equipment that you will be able to use over and over.
A kitchen scale (for weighing produce)
Immersion blender (you could probably do this with a regular blender, but it will be a lot more work and annoyance)
500mL canning jars with brand-new lids
Rubber spatula or similar
- Wash your 500mL jars, new lids, funnel, ladle, and any other tools in hot, soapy water. Allow to air dry.
- Cut leafy greens and stems off beets; place beets in a pot.
- Cover with water and boil until tender.
- Cool beets, and remove skin (skin will come away easily with your fingers).
- Slice beets into bite-sized pieces (no more than 1/4″ thick).
- Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, spices, and water in the pot. Bring to a boil.
- Add beets to the pot.
- Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Using a ladle, fill jars with hot beets and brine mixture, leaving a ½ inch headspace at the top.
- Using a rubber spatula or similar, remove air bubbles by running it around the edges of the jar as needed.
- Wipe the rims of the jar with a clean cloth, and add lid and screw band. Finger-tighten screw band; do not over-tighten.
- Place in boiling water bath, ensuring at least 1 inch of water above the tops of the lids.
- Bring water back to a boil.
- Process the jars of pickled beets in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes (if you’re more than 1000 feet above sea level, water bath times are different! Look them up online before starting).
- Remove jars from water bath carefully, without bumping or jostling. Allow to cool undisturbed overnight.
- Test the lids of the jars to see if they’ve sealed properly – a proper seal means the lids are bowed down in a bit in the centre and don’t move when pressed. If the lids pop up and down when you press them, they haven’t sealed properly and can’t be stored at room temperature. It’s possible to reprocess the jars with a brand-new lid to see if they will seal properly, but otherwise they should be stored in the fridge and eaten early.
- Store jars in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use them. Check occasionally to ensure that the screw bands aren’t rusting – this can cause the seal to break.
You can eat them right away, but I feel like it takes at least a week to really develop the flavour.