Gray clouds and raindrops outside, a secret sunshine buried in the ground. Golden beets, each one like a tiny oblong planet. A farmer pulled them from the dark earth, sold them at the market, soil still clinging to the crevices. We bought 6 pounds so we could make this pickled beet recipe to share with you.
This recipe is adapted from the delicious new cookbook Saving the Season: A Cook's Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving.
If you are not familiar with the water bath canning method watch our water bath canning video workshop. Always make sure you are following all safety guidelines outlined by the USDA when canning anything.
Trim the beet greens from the root, and save them for other uses, but leave both the crown and the skinny beet tail intact. (This way they will bleed less nutrient and flavor.) Boil the beets whole in unsalted water for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer pierces them easily.
Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, and set aside to steep while the other steps are completed. (The whole spices will be strained from the mixture when you fill the jars, so do this step early on in the process to insure the flavor are well infused into the syrup.)
Prepare the water bath canner at this time, too; fill it with water and place the washed pint jars inside. set it to boil while the recipe is prepared.
When the beets are tender, drain and plunge them into ice water. Slip them out of their skins, tidying up the root and stem ends as necessary. Cut away any remaining dark spots or dirt in crevices, and discard the tails and crowns. Halve or quarter the beets, depending on their size, and pack them snugly into 6 or 7 prepared pint jars.
Bring the syrup back to a boil, and pour it into the jars through a fine-meshed strainer to catch the spices. Gently shake each jar as you fill it, to settle the beets, and run release any trapped air pockets. Top up the jars to leave 1/2 inch airspace.
Secure the lids on the jars and place them in a water bath canner. Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 30 minutes. Store in a cool place and enjoy!
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