How To Make Pickled Beets


“You can pickle a beet, but you can’t beat a pickle”  unknown, but my Aunt used to say that all the time.


We’re well into week two of “eat the freezer”. I’ve vowed to use up the stock pile of food that has congregated on every possible shelf in my kitchen exercising minimal trips to grocery store to place meals on the table.  It’s been a satisfying project leaving me with an organized kitchen but not much material for blogging.  So I thought I’d talk about a project that actually took place last October… our beat picklin’ and cannin’ extravaganza.



Pickling beets has officially become a tradition for friend Greg and me. This fall was our second annual project. Last year we pickled 25 pounds of organic Colorado grown beets. This year we were so confident in our skills we purchased 50 pounds and went to work. I have to admit, due to precision teamwork, doubling the amount of beets really didn’t take but 30 minutes longer. It’s a five and a half hour project that produced almost 40 jars.



We pickled beets on a Sunday afternoon smack dab in the middle of a Bronco home game, complete with fighter jets roaring over the house for the National Anthem stadium flyover. We pickled beets in the midst of two adorable curious toddlers, three underfoot Yorkshire Terriers and two heckling spouses.



Greg was even suffering from complications from wisdom teeth extractions. A couple of pain killers for him, a couple of glasses of wine for me and and we were good to go.  Aside from me running outside to see the fighter jets, a few minor distractions couldn’t stop us.



We were very pleased with the outcome of flavors from last year’s recipe, but did tweak a couple of things this year. One of Greg’s relatives suggested that instead of pouring the colorful liquid from boiled beets down the drain, to use it for the water in our pickling brine. We did and both agreed it made for a more flavorful brine.  And as always, good quality products such as organic sugar and quality pickling spice from our local spice shop made for a delicious end product.



It’s interesting, before making my own, I used to buy a brand from a small Colorado company that used locally grown beets and thought they were the best!  Upon conducting a taste test of ours vs. theirs, I was stunned to find that the brand I used to love fell short on the flavor scale compared to our home made. I’m impressed In other words…Greg and my pickled beets kick butt with an end result of a great sweet and tangy combination.  I also like that our beets have a slight crunch as opposed to being mushy.


Let’s take a look.  Basic recipe from Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving … with some tweaks.

Pickled Beets
Recipe type: Canning
  • 3 quarts beets, (about 24 small)
  • 2 cups organic sugar
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 T. Pickling spice
  • 1½ t. salt
  • 3½ cups vinegar
  • 1½ C. water from the boiled beets
  1. After beets have cooked, peel, cut into chunks, and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients excepts beets in a large sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks.
  3. Pack beets into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head space.Ladle hot liquid over beets leaving ¼ inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process jars 30 minutes in boiling water canner.


Pickled Beets…It’s What’s for a Project.



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  1. says

    If a group making tamales is called a tamalada then this must be called a pickalada. I love preserving. There is something so wholesome and almost theraputic about stuffing stuff in jars and boiling the bejeezus out of them. It is even more fun than eating them, well, almost. Beautiful beets Lea Ann!

  2. says

    Each year, Bev insist I grow beets and each year, we pickle some and each year we toss the 4 year ones that she didn’t eat. I think she likes them, but forgets about them. Pickled is the only way I eat them but once or twice a year will do me – I ate more than my share as a kid and I still enjoy a hard boiled egg soaked in the brine for a couple of days. Yours look very nice and I like the recipe, which I’ll save for Bev’s next insistence.

    • Lea Ann says

      I forget about them too, but Now that I’ve toiled, boiled, pickled and fussed … I’ve trained myself to remember. My mom was a big beet person when I was growing up, had my share of canned. I’ve not tried those eggs. You don’t like roasted beets??? They’re so good in salads.

  3. says

    I have such fond memories of pickling beets when I was a new bride. They were SO good, I vowed to keep up the tradition, but didn’t. This post makes me want to give it another go, though. I grew them last year but but ended up eating the greens but not the beets. (wth?) I did convert my hubby to beet greens with bacon and hot pepper vinegar. :) I’m inspired. (love the photos as always!)

  4. says

    Awesome! I had so many beets from my garden this last year that I didn’t know what to do with, wish I would have thought of pickling them! Now the question is … did you get the beet color out of your cutting board? :)

    • Lea Ann says

      LOL, I have to admit I was very worried about those beet stains. Actually we were at Greg and Cauleen’s house, but I do believe those stains came out. And I’ve had those very stains on my cutting board at home and they do go away…eventually. I’ve never tried to grow beets. Good for you…and I’ve got to get to know you better. 😉

  5. says

    You are my hero. As you know I’m taking baby steps with beets and I cannot imagine what one would do with 40 jars! I do can and know that is a big effort. Very satisfying to get them done and enjoy them through the none beet season. Beautiful photos Lea Ann; you have tempted me to proceed with my attempt to love beets via this recipe.

  6. Care's Kitchen says

    I adore beets! Roasted some the other day and wondered why I don’t do it on a regular basis!? What a fun project…would have love to have joined you too…wine and all!!!! Thanks for the recipe and “how to!”

  7. says

    It must be destiny that I saw your post today. I have a small community garden plot. I have grown beets for the first time, and was just saying that I need to figure out how to can them. I know beets are a love em or hate em vegetable, but I love them. No one should have an opinion about beets until they have tried them fresh-

    This looks amazing. By the way, you guys rock. 5-1/2 hours of purple hands and counter is a lot!


    • Lea Ann says

      I agree. That’s what I always ask people when the voice their distaste for beets… have you had them fresh? I’ll be anxious to hear if you pickle those beets.

  8. says

    I think my mouse just got stained purple just from reading this post, lol.

    I really don’t like beets but Alexis loves them, pickled ones even more so.


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