Food Friday : Easy Pickled Beets

This week’s food post is a demonstration of how to make pickled beets that are stored in your refrigerator (rather than sealed within sterilized jars).

First, a little recollection … I remember when I first began cooking for myself and wanting to have some steamed beets with my dinner. So, I went about peeling the raw beets with a vegetable peeler. Suffice it to say, that I never prepared beets from scratch again because the mess that the peeling caused was something to behold!

Now, having seen what Nick does, I realize the proper and much less messy method is to boil the beets before peeling. Then after allowing the beets to cool slightly (so they may be handled), the peel simply pushes off with a little friction from your fingers and thumbs.

The following are the steps taken to make a large jar of pickled beets, which must be stored in the refrigerator.  They keep for a pretty long time since they are immersed in a vinegar solution which deters spoilage, however they won’t last as long as ones that are canned the usual way, with sterilized canning jars with sealed ring lids.

They are easy to prepare but do take some time, as there are two boiling sessions involved.

We prepared 4 large beets. Wash beets and put them in a large pot of water. Bring this to a boil and cook them for about 45 minutes, until cooked through (Just like you would if you were boiling potatoes). Once they are cooked, turn off the heat and allow them to cool down in the liquid for a couple of hours. Note that you will be retaining 2 cups of the cooking liquid for the brine. If you’re in a hurry you can carefully remove them from the hot liquid with a slotted spoon and cool slightly by running them under cold water, until you can handle them.

Then push the peels off, and slice the beets. Return to the large pot, along with 2 cups of the cooking liquid, plus 2 3/4 cups of pickling vinegar, 3/4 cup of white sugar, the juice of 2 clementines or 1 orange (optional), 1 tbsp salt, 1/8 tspn each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring this to a boil and then turn off the heat and let them cool in the liquid.

Once they’ve cooled down, transfer to one large jar, or several small ones, covering the beets with the brine (The beets will float so they won’t technically be covered, so just fill your jar up with liquid, leaving about an inch of space at the top of the jar). Cool completely uncovered, and then seal tightly and store in the refrigerator.

Serving Suggestion: These can be served cold as a little tangy-sweet side to any meal or try them in a “Spinach and Beet Salad” (recipe below).

(Imagine how pretty this salad would look on your holiday buffet table, or served as a first course at a dinner party!)

Washed baby spinach leaves and toss with vinaigrette. Top with cubed pieces of pickled beets, toasted nuts such as pecans, walnuts or almonds. Chopped hard boiled egg, if desired.

Vinaigrette for Baby Spinach and Beet Salad:
1/2 c olive oil
1/3 c red wine vinegar (or less depending on how acidic you like it)
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp Dijon style mustard
1/8 tsp salt (or more depending on taste)
grinding of fresh pepper
A tablespoon or two of sour cream, if you like a creamy dressing.

Whisk everything together a toss desired amount of dressing with the spinach. Top salad with remaining ingredients. Leftover salad dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in airtight container.

Wishing you a happy Friday and hope your up for a great week-end! xo loulou