Making pickled beetroot

24 November 2009
Beets are one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. The root can be served raw, juiced, boiled, baked and pickled. The green tops can be steamed, boiled or stir fried or used in the same way you use silverbeet or spinach. Beets are one of the easy to grow vegetables everyone should fall in love with.

If you're new to food preservation, pickled beets is one of those easy to learn processes that while not fully utilising canning or processing procedures, will help you preserve your beetroot for a very long time in the fridge.

If you're growing beets, pick about 6 of them, or buy a bunch from the market. Don't cut into the roots because they'll bleed their juice out. Cut the tops off about ½ inch above the top of the root, leaving a little of the green. Scrub the roots with a vegetable brush and wash clean. It's okay to have different sizes but you have to remember to remove the smaller ones first and give the big ones more cooking time. You want them to cook until they're knife tender.

Add the roots to a pot of cold water with a little salt added and bring to the boil with the lid on. When they start to boil, turn down the heat and simmer them until you can easily slip a sharp knife into them. Remove the small ones first, give the larger ones a couple of extra minutes cooking time. When all are cooked, drain the water off in a colander and let them cool down. This part of the process should take about 20 minutes.

When they're still warm, slip the skins off. You can do this with your hands, the skins should just slide right off. Wash your hands as soon as you finish to remove the red stains. Your hands won't be stained as long as you wash them regularly throughout this process.

While the beets are cooking you can make your spiced vinegar. Into a saucepan place:
1 cup water
2 cups vinegar - I used apple cider vinegar
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of mixed spices - I mixed up a combo of celery seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns and used two teaspoons of the mix.

Bring this mixture to the boil and simmer it for two minutes.

Trim off the tops and bottoms and put into the compost bucket, then slice the roots. Six sliced beetroots will generally fit into a one litre/quart jar. Pour the spiced vinegar over the beetroot to cover all of them. Then seal the lid and store in the fridge.

NOTE: make sure your jars, lids and any seals you use are scrupulously clean. Give them a good wash and run hot water over the jar and lids before you use them. When you intend to keep food for a long time, it's important to always start off with everything clean.

Pickled beetroot will keep well in the fridge for six months. If you want to keep it longer you'll need to process it in a water bath canner.

Pickled beetroot can be served as part of a trio of pickled vegetables along with bread and butter cucumbers and pickled onions. All of them are delicious eaten as part of a salad and compliment the rich creamy dressings of some salads very nicely. I am serving this trio of pickled vegies at our Christmas lunch.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Nutritional Value of Beet - from here
Beet is a rich source of Potassium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus and Copper. Whereas Calcium, Sodium, Zinc and Selenium are present in small amounts. Vitamin Content: Beet consists of Vitamin C, Folate and Betaine in large quantities. Vitamin A, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6 and Pantothenic Acid are also present in small amounts. It also constitutes traces of Beta Carotene.


  1. As a kid, I never liked beetroot - until dad grew and pickled his own. Tastes totally different to canned. Changed my mind about beetroot entirely.

    1. plus your body changes...I know that as an adult, I need pickles, where as a child, I was ok.

  2. What a timely post. I am planning on making pickled beets this week.


  3. Thanks for the recipe. I was hoping that you would give it after reading yesterdays post.

    Beet is one of the first things we grew and it went so well! A very easy veggie to grow. I tried some yellow/gold ones also and they were good.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this information Rhonda! I'll have to grow some more now that I know what to do with it.

  5. Hi Rhonda, I like to roast our beetroot, I'm looking forward to trying the spiced vinegar recipe you have given. Is there a trick to getting the last of the skin off? I always seem to have some tiny weeny bits left-- that both me more than everyone else.

  6. They looks so pretty in the glass jars...wish I liked them but the pickling ruins them for me! Still interesting to see how you make them!

  7. YUM YUM YUM. My beets are just tiny seedlings right now. And they don't look like they are growing much (but I am not giving up on them yet). I may have planted them too late. I will try again in the spring. I really wanted to can beets this fall. There is always next year. I will keep dreaming. The photos are great. Thanks for posting them. Emily

  8. Hi Rhonda

    I love beets but even though I can grow most things well, my beets never mature nicely...could you ask Hanno for any tips and maybe post about that sometime? Thanks!
    South Africa

  9. I love beetroot! One of my favorite veggies.

    Rhonda, I made a reference to you in my yesterday's post, saying how productively you use your time at home!

  10. Beetroot are just wonderful veggies aren't they! Thanks for sharing this recipe for preserving - the spiced vinegar sounds great! I've shared the recipe for a yummy beetroot dip I made at my site

    Enjoy your beets!

    Ally :-)

  11. Hi Rhonda Jean,

    I'm on ultra-slow dial-up here and can't load the forum to ask this question. Wondered if you have time, if you might let me know what you do for mites on your chickens? My daughter brought in eggs this morning and I found a mite crawling across one. I need to get out and check to see what kind of mites they are, but I wondered if DE works for this too? (Not just lice?) The only thing that has changed recently is that we have been letting the chickens out for a few hours a day to "free range" (as opposed to just in their run). They have just started laying in the last couple of weeks. We'd like to control as naturally as possible, but I also understand that mites have to be addressed INSTANTLY, as they multiply astronomically. Any tips? Thanks a bunch. Jen.

  12. i'm gonna try this-thanks for sharing the frig option for those of us not yet canning!

  13. Oooh, I will definitely book mark this post! Pickled beets are one of my husband's favorites- and I like them as well. I made some bread and butter pickles this past year and they turned out nicely, so that gives me a bit of courage to try these. Thank you for the recipe!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

  14. Rose, when you boil the beetroot, or steam it, the skins just slide right off. I roast beetroots to eat, I particularly like roasted golden beetroot.

    Wendy, beetroot needs full sun, good drainage and a hand full of lime in the soil before planting. Also add a lot of compost because beetroot likes fertile soil but not too much nitrogen. Soak the seeds for an hour before planting out and water in with seaweed tea. After all that, and watering about twice a week, they usually look after themselves.

    Jen, DE works really well. Hanno catches the chook and puts it into a cardboard box. Then he sprinkles DE all over, particularly under the wings and around the wattle and comb. Having them in the box makes it easier to turn them over to apply the DE underneath. I guess your chooks have got a dust bath area they've made themselves in their normal run. That generally keeps mites away. But if you can apply the DE, it should take care of the mites they pick up while free ranging.

  15. Beets are one of those vegetables that I'd love to love. Maybe I should try eating them raw or roasted because my mom always cooked them to mush when I was a child. That may have influenced my negative opinion somewhat.

    However, I have made good use of the tops. They don't really taste beet-y and can be sauteed or used in pesto. Quite yummy! If I grow them for the tops, I should try the roots too though. Maybe next year.

  16. Thanks very much, Rhonda Jean, for the info. I like the idea of treating each one within the confines of a cardboard box! I still can't quite figure out if they have mites or not. I saw one crawling across an egg day before yesterday, but I can't see anything on the chickens so far, nor anything in their coop, so I'm not sure. Maybe the little critter was just on the carton I put the eggs in. At any rate, I'm monitoring the hens and we've got some DE on hand for treatment. Probably a good idea to go ahead and dust them anyway...better safe than sorry??

    Thanks again...I appreciate it!

  17. LOOK at those dark orange egg yolks! Beautifully done, girls!
    And people say there is little difference between farm fresh and store bought...
    Gorgeous, Rhonda Jean!

  18. I'm new to reading Down to Earth. I'm loving all your wonderful information. I just read your post pickled beetroot, and I noticed that you throw the tops out. The tops are wonderful to eat. Below is the website to the recipe for roasted beets & the tops. Hope that you give it a try and enjoy them.

  19. Love your garden Rhonda. I have just started a veggie patch hope it works out ok. I noticed you have straw on your garden What is it that you use and where do you buy it from? I am always concerned in case I bring something toxic on the garden and enda up with some chemical on the veggies.


  20. Great recipe ! i used caraway seeds with peppercorns, salt, agave and a few cardamon pods and it turned out really nice ! Thankyou



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