Refrigerator Pickled Beets

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Yield : 3 pints Prep Time : Cook Time : Ready In :

Refrigerator Pickled Beets

“This is a simple recipe for refrigerator pickled beets. These beets will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least a couple of months. Try serving them in place of pickles with your sandwich.  Or as a side salad. They add  color to any plate.”


Refrigerator Pickled Beets


  • For the Beets

    2 pounds medium fresh beets, washed well
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For the Pickling Solution

  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • Special Equipment - Cheesecloth


Step 1

Prepare the Beets

Trim the stem of the beet leaving at least 1 inch on. Do not trim the roots or otherwise cut into the beet or the juices will escape during cooking.

Step 2

Place the beets in a saucepan large enough to hold them in one layer, add the cooking solution; the solution should just cover the beets. Bring to a simmer and cook the beets, covered, for about 30 minutes or until just tender. Do not overcook. (Test for tenderness by sticking a toothpick or skewer into the beet, it should go through with just a bit of resistance.) Turn off the heat and allow the beets to cool in the cooking liquid. When the beets are cool enough to handle, drain, peel and slice them. (The peels should come off easily by rubbing the beets with your fingers or using a paper towel, if you don't mind a pink towel, you could use a cloth towel.) Place in a large non-reactive bowl. Add the raw sliced red onion. (Glass is good here - I don't recommend plastic unless you want a new pink bowl)

Step 3

Make the Pickling Solution

While the beets are cooling, make the pickling solution. Place the sweet onion in a saucepan along with the water, wine vinegar and sugar. Tie the pickling spice, cloves and peppercorns in a cheesecloth; add to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Pour the pickling liquid over the beets and raw onion; stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, for 2 - 3 days before serving. Remove the spice packet and transfer the beets to jars with lids. Refrigerate for up to 3 months.


{The making of Refrigerator Pickled Beets}

As a child, we always had pickled beets in the refrigerator. Mom used to get canned sliced beets, layer them with thinly sliced onion and pour a mixture of vinegar and sugar over them; let them sit for a couple of days, and then we would have a cold beet salad, or just take a few out for an afternoon snack.

I have these fresh beets from the garden, time for some Refrigerator Pickled Beets

Snacks at my house were always considered a “little weird” by others in the neighborhood. No cookies. No ice cream. No chips. No. We had apples, oranges, celery sticks with peanut butter or cream cheese spread on them. Carrots were another “I’m hungry what’s to eat”, response. In the summer months, we would eat tomatoes, just like an apple.

I haven’t made or had pickled beets in a long time but it seems there is a resurgence of pickled and fermented foods. Now understand that pickled food and fermented foods are different from each other. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi are not cooked at all, they sit and ferment in natural juices. In pickle preparation, it’s necessary to acidify the food.  You can acidify the food a number of ways, including the addition of vinegar (quick pickling) or a curing process (fermentation). Generally, when people refer to pickling, they mean you made it with vinegar. Also called fresh-pack or quick-process pickling, this is the method of covering the fruit or vegetable in hot vinegar, spices and seasonings. While quick pickling will preserve the food and allows for long-term storage, it does not offer the probiotic benefits of fermentation.

These beets are really easy to prepare and will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a few  months

This recipe for Refrigerator Pickled Beets uses the fresh-pack method. Beets are naturally low in calories and fat, high in potassium, and folate. Pickled vegetables, while not offering the same probiotics as fermented vegetables do, still aid in digestion.

And of course, now we use fresh beets, not canned.


Refrigerator Pickled Beets


These beets will stay fresh in the refrigerator for at least a couple of months. Try serving them in place of pickles. Or as a side salad. They add a colorful addition to any plate.

And when the beets are gone? Put some peeled hard-cooked eggs into the liquid. Let them sit for a few days and you will have beautiful bright pink eggs to slice and serve in salads, or wherever you like to put your hard cooked eggs.


Refrigerator Pickled Beets

This recipe was adapted from Bradley Ogden’s Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Cookbook published 1991.


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