Pickled Beets

I can’t stop eating them.  I brought home a couple bunches of beautiful organic beets from the farmer’s market Saturday, having already decided I needed (yes, needed) some pickled beets.  They’re now sitting in a jar in the fridge and I can’t stop eating them.  I’ve always loved pickled beets, but somehow I just forgot about them until we were at our cousins’ house a while back and she had a jar full of them in her fridge and I couldn’t stop eating them. 

Pickled beets are super easy to make; no canning involved, unless you want to preserve them for longer than 6 months, which is how long they’ll last in the fridge (probably even longer than that).  Except around here because I can’t stop eating them. 

So basically, you just make the pickling marinade and let it steep while you cook and peel your beets. 

Then cut them into chunks, strain the marinade and pour it over the warm beets and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.   You won’t believe how good.

And then for lunch I made this salad with spinach and kale from the garden, the beet greens, sliced mushrooms, green onions, feta cheese, a mustard-y vinaigrette and those awesomely delicious pickled beets.  Oh, man.  I want this for lunch every day.

There’s something so homey and nostalgic about pickled beets.  I’m pretty sure that most of us have an aunt or grandmother or mom who made them, and they were this comforting presence at family gatherings.  I just wish it hadn’t taken me this long to remember.  Here's the recipe...

Pickled Beets

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe adapted from Gourmet magazine

2 lbs fresh beets

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup water

2/3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp pickling spice

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 bay leaf

Combine all the ingredients except for the beets in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and let sit while you prepare the beets.

Trim the beets of root and stems (save the greens for salad or sauté).  Cut large beets in half.  Place the beets in a pan of cold water and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes until just tender.  Drain.

Peel the beets.  I like to wear rubber gloves and then just rub the beets and the skins peel right off.  Cut the beets into chunks and place in a medium bowl.

Strain the vinegar mixture and pour over the beets.  Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours. These will keep in the refrigerator for months if the beets are submerged in the marinade.

Pickled Beet Salad

Click here for a printable recipe

This is one of those salads that you can improvise from whatever you have on hand.  Great additions would be sliced avocado, and/or toasted, chopped almonds.  This creamy, mustardy vinaigrette is a must.

Serves 2

3 cups of mixed salad greens (beet greens, baby lettuces, arugula, kale)

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 or 2 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup feta cheese (preferably a creamy one) crumbled

pickled beets

Mustard-y vinaigrette

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together until emulsified and set aside.

Toss together all of the salad ingredients, except for the beets and the feta cheese.  Add just enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat the greens.  Top the salad with some pickled beets and then sprinkle with feta cheese.

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