Refrigerated Pickled Beets

So we all know that a "food desert" is a place without ready access to fresh vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods. But does the "calendar place" that is March ever feel like a food desert to you too? It's not really winter any more, at least not here in eastern Missouri, even if the forecast is for snow. And it's not really spring either, even if daffodils are blooming on the south-facing exposures. Likewise, our tastebuds are so ready for the lightness that is spring, even as our bodies still crave the cozy sweaters of wintry comfort foods.

My answer? Bridge foods, the foods that help us cross from one season to the next, especially the long climb from winter to spring. And – please don't shoot me on this one – I turn to canned beets. They're cheap, they're easy and frankly, I think they're good, at least when submerged in pickling brine for at least a day.

And I'm surprised by how much people like them! For the last two Easters, I served Refrigerator Pickled Beets, cut into pieces and chopped with fresh herbs, they disappeared in a flash, "seconds" were known to happen!

Happy First Day of Spring, northern hemisphere folk!
And First Day of Fall, southern hemisphere visitors!

Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Call me a suck-a for beets, there’s good reason for bearing a Beet Queen crown. Roasted or raw, sandwiched or scalloped, souped or salad-ed, beet beauties are ‘da best’.

In the veritable garden of beet recipes, my first pick just might be homemade pickled beets – but truth be told, I’ve made real pickled beets exactly once and that was ten, make that eleven, years ago.

Instead, each year I make one batch after another of Refrigerator Pickled Beets. They’re quick, they’re good, they’re handy to have on hand to add to a quick salad.

They even – get this – make a really good summer smoothie. Take that for breakfast, all you Beet Princesses.

ALANNA’s TIPS Refrigerator Pickled Beets are “refrigerator pickles” – this means that they’re not preserved in a traditional canning process for long-term unrefrigerated storage. Look for small canned beets. My local grocer (for St. Louisans, that’s Schnucks) sells a house-brand of canned beets about an inch and a half in diameter, they’re perfect. Sliced beets don’t work – the slices stick together, that means the beets don’t pickle evenly. Beet juice stains so that’s why glass is important. My eight-cup glass jar holds a full five cans of small beets. That might sound like a lot – and it is – but Refrigerator Pickled Beets keep for weeks and weeks so it’s easy to eat one or two every few days. For parties, toss drained Refrigerator Pickled Beets with a few fresh herbs, they’re surprisingly popular!

BEAUTIFUL BEET RECIPES My friend Pille from the Estonian food blog Nami-Nami hosts a board on Pinterest for beautiful beet recipes. Check out a few of hers, she, I think, is ripping the beet-queen crown from my head! :-)))

REFRIGERATOR PICKLED BEETS

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: at least 24 hours
Makes about 14 (small batch) or 70 (large batch) small pickled beets
    SMALL BATCH
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can beets, preferably small beets (see TIPS)
    LARGE BATCH
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 or 5 15-ounce cans of beets, preferably small beets

In a saucepan, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to a boil.

While the pickling liquid heats, drain the beets. If the beets are large, cut into bite-size pieces, irregular chunks are better than even slices (see TIPS). Place the beets in a large glass container with a lid (see TIPS). Pour the hot liquid over the beets. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving, up-ending every so often if the beets aren’t completely submersed.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per small beet/per 3.5 beets (assumes half the pickling liquid is absorbed by the beets): 10/36 Calories; 0g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 58/205mg Sodium; 2/8g Carb; 0/1g Fiber; 2/7g Sugar; 0/1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS WW Old Points 0/.5, WW PointsPlus 0/1 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving, 10 beets; 50-calorie serving, 5 beets.
Adapted from a 1964 issue of House & Garden, as published on Epicurious as Swedish Pickled Beets. Since 2005, Swedish Pickled Beets have been a top-visited recipe on my food blog about vegetables, A Veggie Venture.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite beet recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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More Recipes for Refrigerator Pickles

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Cucumber & Pepper Refrigerator Pickles Marinated Brussels Sprouts Refrigerator Pickled Beets (above)
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from Kitchen Parade


Wanna Be a Beet Princess? More Beet Recipes!

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Karelian Borscht (Russian Beet Borscht Soup) Those Pink Potatoes Mango & Beet Smoothies
~ more beet recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ Beets with Feta ~
~ Beet Pesto ~
~ Beet Salad with Sumac, Yogurt & Pita ~
~ more beet recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog

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I have gained a much greater appreciation for beets over the past couple of years, and would love to try my hand at pickling some. What a lovely "bridge" recipe!
 
You know my mother is visiting, but you may not know that if she's in the kitchen when I am draining things she's likely to scream "Wait! Don't throw that out!".
Last week it was the marinated artichoke/lemon/olive juices that came out of the slow cooker when making chicken (we used that liquid to marinate stew beef and made tasty tender tacos with it).
Years ago it was pickle juice.
Remembering that pickle juice made me, last fall, fish out the last of a batch of pickled CSA farm share beets and replace them with thinly sliced (Benriner, thank you AGAIN for that!) CSA farm share turnips. YUM! If you've had those pink pickled turnips on a shawarma at a Lebanese restaurant, you'll like these. I love them on a grilled cheese sandwich, and will be posting that recipe in a few weeks.
Excellent 'it's Spring both meteorologically and equinoxically, why is it so cold out?' recipe, Alanna!
 
Have you tried your recipe with fresh roasted beets?
 
I made mine with roasted beets......cut out the salt and pepper and used a pinch of ground cloves instead. They were wonderful!
 
Lorraine ~ Aii that is such such good news! Especially because I have three roasted beets in the fridge that I haven’t done anything with and a quick pickle will save them. Thanks so much for letting me know!
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna