Aunt Kathy’s Pickled Beets

Pickled Beets on Salad

While I haven’t always been a huge fan of beets – I swore they tasted like dirt when I was a kid – I will always eat them pickled.  To be honest, I’ll eat almost anything once it’s pickled (I still won’t eat pigs feet), but pickled beets are especially good thanks to the natural sugars present in the bright red root.

While there are tons of recipes for pickled beets out there, I want to share my Aunt Kathy’s method for pickling beets.  It’s simple and the results are absolutely delicious.  She douses the cooked beets with vinegar, seasons them with salt and pepper, and stores them in the fridge.  It’s really that easy.  The sweet and sour beets are a wonderful addition to salads, but I also like to eat them alone as a snack.

I will warn you that my family might have a higher tolerance of vinegar than some of you out there – these beets are more sour than sweet.  But I think they’re wonderful!

Beets Ready for Steaming

You may cook the beets using your favorite method, but for this recipe I think it’s easiest to peel and chop them and then steam until tender.  If you prefer to roast, boil, or steam the beets whole, just peel then chop them into small pieces once they’re cool enough to handle, then proceed with the recipe.

Beets in Vinegar

Put the cooked beet pieces in a container and add the vinegar, a couple generous pinches of salt, and some fresh ground black pepper.  We sometimes add some extra virgin olive oil as well.  Store the beets, covered, in the refrigerator and eat them when you feel like it – they will taste great within a couple hours.  If you’re sensitive to vinegar, rinse the beets before eating.  You could also dilute the vinegar with water.

Aunt Kathy’s Pickled Beets

Four cups of peeled and chopped beets (2 small bunches)
1 cup red wine vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)
extra virgin olive oil, to taste (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Steam chopped beets for 35 – 45 minutes, or until tender.  Make sure to put enough water beneath the steamer and check occasionally that the level is okay – if all the water evaporates, you will burn up your pot (I know this from experience)!  Put cooked beets in a bowl, add vinegar, a couple generous pinches of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.  You may add a bit of extra virgin olive oil for flavor if desired.   Store beets, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to eat.  I like to stir them up a few times during the first day so that they all get evenly coated with vinegar.  They will be good to eat within a few hours, but can be stored in the vinegar for up to a week.

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  1. pam

    I adore beets in every way, shape, and form, but pickled are my favorites!

    4:11 am  Jul 12th, 2010
  2. Sommer @ A Spicy Perspective

    Beets are a perfect addition to so many dishes! I can never quite get over their brilliant color!

    7:11 am  Jul 12th, 2010
  3. Nick (Macheesmo)

    I don’t know why but I kind of want to put one of these in a martini.

    I also love anything pickled. Sounds delicious 🙂

    7:26 am  Jul 12th, 2010
  4. M @ Betty Crapper

    pickled pigs feet scare me. Thanks for sharing your aunt’s recipe. Those are the best recipes.

    9:08 am  Jul 12th, 2010
  5. Deborah

    love love love pickled beets, i do pretty much the same except i add a little pinch of turbinado sugar and it gives a little diff demension…

    9:59 am  Jul 12th, 2010
  6. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    I wish I liked beets 🙁

    I tried pig’s feet for the first time last week in Montreal at Au Pied de Cochon (I mean, why not?). Didn’t like them. They were a bit too fatty. That said, they were prepared really well.

    10:59 am  Jul 12th, 2010
  7. natty

    I have a bowl of these in my fridge! My Old Family Recipe tosses in some sliced raw onions, which pickle and pair beautifully with the beets,

    1:12 pm  Jul 12th, 2010
  8. Charles G Thompson

    Love pickled things too but haven’t had pickled beets – going to have to give these a try. Thanks!

    8:59 pm  Jul 12th, 2010
  9. Wanda

    I love pickled beets–I grew up on them but ours were made with sugar and beet juice added to the vinegar. I suspect my son would like your version as he likes pickled foods that aren’t sweet. I’ll have to try it for him.

    9:01 pm  Jul 12th, 2010
  10. jelena

    beets we love them here in Serbia…..I have one secret ingredient…a tablespoon of sugar…it makes all the difference…..
    ps….beautiful blog….will visit often….

    3:23 am  Jul 13th, 2010
  11. john milton

    nice very nice

    5:34 am  Jul 13th, 2010
  12. kickpleat

    pickled beets are so good! i haven’t had them in ages, but i like the look of this recipe – it’s simple!

    7:55 pm  Jul 15th, 2010
  13. Mrs.TeaPie

    If you want your beets a bit spicy, just add a deseeded, deveined, sliced pepper (Anaheim, jalapeño, habanero, etc). Just this week I added raw carrot coins to the same brine as my pickled beets and hard boiled eggs and they were delicious. In fact you can use most veggies in a brine to make pickles. Not all picles are made from cucumbers :-).

    I would be careful about diluting the vinegar with water. It’s the acidity of the vinegar that keeps the pickles safe from unwanted organisms growing in your pickles.

    1:52 pm  Jul 18th, 2010
  14. Anna

    So glad for this inspiration! Yum, yum.

    7:52 pm  Jul 19th, 2010
  15. Kristina

    I love pickled beets, and to be honest, I’ve never adventured beyond the Greenwood (I think that’s the brand?) jar from the grocery store. I’m curious to try your grandmother’s recipe and find out what else pickled beets can do.

    10:41 am  Jul 29th, 2010
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  18. Lana

    Nicole, I converted many beet-haters with pickled beets, my husband included. I always have them in the fridge. My mother boiled hers, but I roast mine (shhhh, nobody tell her I deviated from her divine recipe:), peel them, as you suggested, when cooled off, and then slice them in thin rounds (mother used a variegated knife to give them a pretty look).
    Usually I add some minced garlic or grated fresh horseradish – and serve them as a salad/relish/side dish. The combination of sweet, spicy, and sour is a winner.
    And I am in your vinegary camp:)
    Greetings, neighbor!

    9:14 pm  Sep 5th, 2010
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