I've always liked pickled beets, but I never made them myself before, so I decided to give it a try. I have no regrets, they are amazing. Crunchy, sour and sweet with just the right blend of spices.
It's always nice to have great success the first time. Let's go over how I did it together!
Beets, in general, are healthy, especially when they are organically grown in your garden. Pickled beets are a great way to eat beets. However, being picked, they aren't fermented, so they aren't as healthy as can be. They are pickled in a prepared brine.
I got my beets from my garden which means I grew them myself organically. I had been eating all their leaves in salads which is nice, but the main thing I was going for was the roots. I like consuming beets in soup, pickles and juice. I had too much to eat fresh, so I decided to make my own pickles and freeze some for soup (I smash them in soup so the texture is irrelevant).
Here are all my ingredients for pickled beets. Asides from beets and onions, the main ingredients are vinegar and sugar.
My recipe was closely based on this one: https://farmfreshforlife.com/recipe/easy-pickled-raw-beets/
I wanted to choose a recipe that didn't involve cooking the beets. I like raw food. I did peel the beets because I don't want to taste dirt. Peeling beets is a pain, but I don't mind doing it. My hands looked like I had just done some kind of blood ritual, but no worries, this dish is purely vegan.
The most complicated thing to make is the brine. For around 3kg of beets:
- 500g sugar
- 1L vinegar
- 1.5 L filtered tap water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp pickling spices
- 5 cloves crushed garlic
- random other spices
NOTE: this isn't exact since, I had to boil a ton more sugary vinegary brine, the idea is to cover the beets in the liquid.
Also make sure you clean the heck out of anything that is storing food for more than a couple of days. I wash everything as normal, spray with alcohol, rinse, dry then dump boiling water on it (you can actually just boil the jars, but hey...)
Cubing all the beets is a lot of work, but I find it to be oddly satisfying. Beets bleed a lot when you cut them, but peeling is worse, I find. In any case, I was just listening to a nice audiobook and drinking some red wine while doing this, so it was pleasant.
If you can't figure out how to peel and dice beets, um ask a grown-up for assistance. Knives are sharp, so you will want a responsible adult to supervise you.
After my brine was boiling I added the spices and other stuff and turned off the heat. I don't think there is an exact science to making the brine. The idea is to boil the sugar and vinegar for a few minutes. Technically you can pour it over the beets while it is boiling, maybe it's more sanitary, but I don't think it's a big deal since I will be keeping them in the fridge.
I put the beets into the jar before the brine. This is important, adding beets after would be messy. Splashing hot sugary vinegar water all over the place is not fun.
Oh I forgot to mention, I threw a lot of chopped onions, chopped chilli peppers and some entire cloves of garlic. While pickling I may as well pickle (the garlic will take a little longer, so I put it in the bottom of the jar I plan to open last). Everything will be blood red ;)
I also put some beets into zipper bags for freezing. those do not get brine. I just put them straight into the freezer and give it a shake every 20 to 30 minutes so they don't clump together.
Here are my finished beats. Into the fridge they go. Actually, I left them out for a few hours until they cooled down, but not for days like stuff that is supposed to ferment.
As you can see the brine goes to the top. This is the most important. The exact ratio really depends on what you like and how long it plans to last. I am already done the small jar and they have only been around for a week. I found they tasted good after 3 days. I hear they will keep for about 3~6 months with peak flavor being 1 ~ 3 months. I doubt these will last much longer than that.
You may also notice my sauerkraut. All foods were grown in my garden except garlic and onions and spices, I traded for the garlic and onions.
I'm in beet heaven. Food is delicious, especially when made by myself.