Pickled Beets


Fresh beets don’t usually last long in my house. I typically roast them, remove the peels, and add them to salads. I eat salads pretty much every day in the summer.

But I decided it was time to actually make my fresh beets last by pickling them.


I just started canning last summer, and canning is the perfect way to make these pickled beets last even longer. Normally, pickled beets would only last in the refrigerator for a few weeks, and that’s just not enough time. Especially if you want them during the winter months. So, pickling plus canning equals a winning combination!

I won’t do a canning tutorial just yet, but stay tuned. And if you haven’t canned, try it. It’s incredible what varieties of foods and condiments you can create, and trust me – no one will get botulism if you just follow the rules.

So the recipe is in two parts – one is the pickling water, and the other, the beets.

Pickled Beets

The Beets:

6 beets, scrubbed, ends removed
A 3″ long piece of fresh horseradish, quartered
Bay leaves, about 6-8
Few peppercorns
Few whole cloves

scrubbed and rinsed beets

scrubbed and rinsed beets

Place the beets in a large pot on the stove. Don’t peel them, otherwise you’ll lose too much beet juice.

To the pot add all of the remaining ingredients, then add purified water until the beets are fully covered by at least 1″ of water.

Bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water boils, count 1 hour on the clock.


If you want to make sure the beets are fully cooked, pierce the largest one with a cake tester or point of a knife.


Immediately drain the beets into a colander and let them cool.

The Pickling Water:

2 cups purified water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 smashed garlic clove
A 1″ piece of garlic, sliced into quarters
Few peppercorns

Combine everything in a medium pot. Place over high heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. As soon as it’s dissolved, remove the water from the stove and set aside to cool.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, gently peel them, and trim away any hard, woody parts with a sharp knife.


If you’ve never worked with beets before, be aware that they stain everything. Skin included.


Have jars and lids available that have been washed through a dishwasher cycle or sterilized.

Slice or cube the peeled and trimmed beets and place them in the jars. Today I cubed mine.


When you’re all done, add the strained pickling water to the jars; the beets should be completely covered. Alternatively, you could include the pickled onions.

I placed a couple of horseradish pieces in two jars, and the star anise in a third. The fourth I left alone.


I then covered the jars with clean and dry lids, and stored them in the refrigerator. I wasn’t quite ready to begin the canning process, but when I do, I will bring the tightly sealed jars to room temperature before proceeding.

Pickled beets are one of my favorite additions to salad, which I eat often. the one in the featured photo includes avocado, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

Beets, pickled or not, go well in salads with salmon, steak, or grilled chicken. They’re also wonderful with red bell peppers, grated carrots, and cucumbers. And don’t forget the goat cheese!

verdict: These beets are delicious. I’m glad I didn’t add any more sugar to the pickling water. The horseradish isn’t very strong. And I love the addition of the star anise. Will make these again.

43 thoughts on “Pickled Beets

  1. Never pickled beets, I’ve been dreaming of pickling radishes lately, might take a ride on your post and finally DO IT!

    hubby is anti-beet. I know, I know… he hid that from me when we were dating… oh, well – he IS a keeper anyway ;-)

    • Jeez. What else did he keep from you? I mean, that’s critical!!! My hubs is anti- a lot of things, including vinegar, so no pickled anything for him. More for me!

    • I know, beets are so incredible. Unfortunately I only get the red variety where I live, so I’ve never played with the beautiful striped varieties…

  2. Just recently I was thinking about trying my hand at pickled beets! Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to give this a try this week. How long do they need to sit for the flavor to develop before eating them? Thanks!

  3. I believe the beets will last a bit longer without actually canning them if you add the pickling water when it’s almost boiling, then screw on the lid and put the jar upside down so the hot water will ‘sterilize’ the lid.

      • I’ve seen it in many recipes and it makes sense to me that it works, but I don’t know if anyone ever tested it. I’m sure it’s not as good as actual canning, but it ought to be better than just closing the jars without turning them over. Any contamination on the rim or lid will be sterilized (or close to that) by the boiling liquid.

  4. I have never even tried eating pickled beets. Always roasted, and believe me…I roast 3 or 4 every single week for our salads through out the week. We love them. I would love to try this.

  5. I’m in the middle of writing an eerily similar post … ha ha, great minds and all that, not to mention beet-lovers which I also count myself as one. I’m intrigued by the idea of adding star anise or horseradish to the pickle, have never done that and would like to try it.

    • Funny! The horseradish isn’t very hot, being that it’s just a piece, but the star anise created a lovely flavor. I would definitely add it again.

      • I love star anise (how it looks) but don’t know how to use it. With your endorsement, I will definitely add it to my next batch of pickled beets. Any more uses of star anise you have I would also eagerly wait/want to find out.

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