Spicy Pickled Beets

Sometimes I have moments in which I realize that I am rapidly turning into an 89-year old obstinate Hungarian grandmother.

These moments happen more often than I like to admit.

For instance, I sometimes dream of owning chickens in my own backyard.  This is weird, because we actually had chickens in my backyard when I was a kid, and they are disgusting.  They stink, they peck each other to death, and they lay delicious brown eggs every day.  I want them.

I also sometimes wish I could wrap a giant scarf around my head instead of doing my hair.  Not in the movie star, big sunglasses kind of way, but in the gingham, burlap sack dress, and bare feet kind of way.

The clincher was when I woke up this morning craving pickled beets.  What self-respecting 20-something year old with a closet full of pretty dresses and high heels craves beets, much less of the pickled variety?  My complete transformation appears inevitable.

You can just call me nagyanya (“grandmother” in Hungarian).

Spicy Pickled Beets (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 1/2 lb beets (I actually had just a smidgen over a lb)
  • 1 large onion (though I used 1 large and an old baby one)
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C white vinegar (feel free to experiment with types of vinegar or just use 1/2 C of one variety)
  • 1/4 t black peppercorns
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground allspice
  • 1 t dill seeds
  • 1 t salt

First, wash and roast the beets.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, wrap the beets tightly in foil, and roast until they are soft (a good test is if they can easily be pierced with a wooden skewer).  This should take about an hour.

Meanwhile, chop the onions (I made half rings, about 1/8-1/4″ thick), and cover with boiling water.  Let it sit for ten minutes, then drain and allow to cool.  This should take out some of the bite of the onions without having to cook the whole mixture together.

Combine 3/4 C boiling water with the sugar and stir until dissolved.  Add the vinegars and remaining seasonings: salt, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and dill.  Set aside.

Once the beets are roasted, peel them (an easy trick is to use a dry paper towel to slip the skins off) and slice them.  Layer them with the onions in a large enough jar, and pour the vinegar mixture over the top.

Place the jar in the fridge and allow it to sit for at least a day until eating.

I hate when my pickled beet cravings have to wait a day to be realized.  And no, I’m not pregnant–just weird. 

The original recipe says that this can most likely be stored “forever”, but I wouldn’t try that.  With the sugary, salty brine, though, it’ll probably come pretty close.

I’m excited to try these on sandwiches, in salads, and probably just plain.  Remember?  I’m weird.

Plus, how can you not love the sweet and sour taste of pickled beets?

Pickling things (especially without the trouble of canning them, since I’m just making one jar and keeping it refrigerated) is a perfect way to keep items from my CSA box from going bad.  Expect to see a lot more pickled goodies in the future.  And possibly some jams.  Jellies.  Compotes.


Filed under Side Dishes

14 responses to “Spicy Pickled Beets

  1. Oooh, I love pickled beets! And it’s weird because I don’t like regular pickles. But I love pickled beets, just plain out of the jar 😀 My recipe used a little bit of anise and that’s really yummy too 😀 Yours look gorgeous, I love that color 🙂

  2. Yum. I want that whole jar RIGHT. NOW.


  3. That looks super-tasty. Except that we’re very into canning (tomatoes, jam, salsa, hot sauce…) in my family, so I might just have to make a massive batch and boil-seal them for a rainy (or craving-y) day. That would be a solution to your cravings being delayed in fulfilment by a day.

    • so true! i love canning too, but I only had a few beets from my CSA box that I needed to use up. when my tomatoes are ready, it’s canning time! I also canned mint jelly last year, which was awesome!

  4. That looks really good 🙂 Love the colors especially…
    Love your pictures too 🙂

  5. Pingback: Married up with Wine » Farmer’s Market Find: Beets

  6. If I truly wanted these to last forever (or closer to it), would I process it in a boiling water bath, or is that unnecessary since it’s pickled? I always wonder with pickled recipes… I only have one beet from my CSA (I’m sharing with a friend, and we only got two this week), so I might try this with a mini jar… I’m curious for the future, though!

  7. tharrie

    ….the best I ever had!!!! Yes – I was the very lucky person to taste this & it is yummy yummy…..

  8. Szia Denise Vagyok

    When I lived in Budapest and would get these cravings I would go to an indoor market near Erzsebet Hid. The vendor sold the beets by the kilo and I had to come with my own container or carry some home in a knotted plastic bag. I can remember the smell as I entered the market, yummmmm!
    I cannot wait to make a batch and see if it tastes the same as my memories!Thanks!

  9. Pingback: Menu August 28-September 3, 2011 « Plath’s Adventures

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