Introduction: Pickled Beets and Onions
Canning can be an overwhelming hobby to get into, fortunately there are now books geared towards small batch preserving so you don't have to commit to putting up dozens and dozens of jars. This pickled beet and onion recipe from Ellie Topp's book The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round is one of the recipes I enjoy making, and end up making multiple batches as the farmer's market season wraps up. While the usual red beets look and taste great, I love when I can find golden (yellow) beets, or especially candy stripe (Chioggia) beets that look so pretty sitting in pickling liquid in a jar.
I don't like star anise, that's often found in pickled beet recipes, so I like that this recipe is very basic; using just sugar, cider vinegar, water, salt, caraway and mustard seeds, but the sweet-tart flavor that goes so well with the earthiness of beets makes this a great pickle. Adding pearl onions, or my preference, diced red onions or shallots, adds a bit of bite to the pickles.
When I'm feeling extra tired, nothing makes me happier than opening a jar of something I've canned as an easy side dish at dinner. I hope you'll try this pickled beet and onion recipe soon, enjoy!
Makes 4 pints (I often double the ingredients in this recipe, and get 6 or 7 pints, if you have access to a lot of beets, I suggest doubling the batch.)
Recipe from: The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round by Ellie Topp
Step 1: Gather and Prepare Ingredients
10 -15 small beets
2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup small whole onions, peeled (I prefer using cut up shallots or diced red onion)
2 tsp. pickling salt
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
I already cooked the beets before taking pictures. If you need to cook the beets, here's how: In a large pot of water simmer beets for 25 to 40 minutes or until they are tender (smaller beets will be done faster, once you can easily slip a paring knife into them, remove them to a towel-lined pate). Drain, rinse beets ujnder cold water, and remove skins (wearing gloves will keep your hands stain free). If your beets are very large, cut them into halves or quarters.
If you want to keep different varieties of beets different colors, you'll need to cook them separately or the colors will bleed together. I boiled the small bunch of Candy Stripe (Chioggia) beets in a small pot, cooked the golden beets in my pressure cooker, and boiled the red beets. I really like pressure cooking my beets, especially having different colors, I was able to get all varieties cooked at once so I could proceed with canning at the same time.
Mix pickling salt, onions, caraway, and mustard seeds together in a small bowl until combined.
Step 2: Prepare Brine and Fill Jars
Combine vinegar, sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, remove hot jars from canner and divide salt, onions, caraway and mustard seed mixture equally among the jars. Add beets.
Pour boiling vinegar mixture over beets to within 1/2-inch of rim. Wipe jar lids, place warm lids on jars and screw bands fingertip tight.
Process 30 minutes in boiling water (start counting when water boils) for pint jars, and 35 minutes for quart jars. Let jars sit in water five minutes, remove and let cool on a towel or rack. Let sit, without moving, overnight, or at least 12 hours, before labeling and storing.
I like to let the beets pickle for two weeks after canning to let all the flavors fully develop before using or giving out as gifts. Pickled beets can be stored, away from heat and light, up to one year.