I have had the weekend to settle back into my life in Seattle and to settle into cool, Autumn days. I am always sad to see the warm, long days of Summer slip by, but Fall is a special time. I love wearing sweaters, eating pumpkin pie, noticing the trees turning bright colors, and sipping on hot beverages. Fall is also the last chance to savor the end of harvest abundance. I was just at the farmers market today and there is a lot of produce still in season including corn, carrots, apples, pears, peppers, potatoes, mushrooms, and beets. Last year, I purchased four bunches of red beets to pickle the way my Grandma taught me. I know not everyone has a liking to pickled beets, but I think they are absolutely delicious. Beets are also delicious baked or boiled and drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. They are also wonderfully paired with an assortment of cheese. Beets are the best!
With my four bunches of beets (which was only $8), I plan on pickling all of them. I only have half a mason jar in my fridge from the beets I pickled last year so it is time to replenish my stock. I chose to keep my beets in the refridgerator to preserve them rather than canning them, but you could do either. Once the beets are pickled, I eat them out of the jar or I add them to salads. I made the most delicious salad this week using my pickled beets. I tossed spinach, toasted nuts, thinly sliced red onion, and feta in a bowl. I added my pickled beets last because the red coloring will turn your salad pink if you toss them as well. I garnished the salad with crispy bacon bits and drizzled it with a dijon, maple syrup, and horseradish dressing (that I made from scratch by using olive oil as the binder and adding salt and pepper to taste).
Keep an eye out at your farmers market or local grocery store for beets and don't just buy one bunch buy a few!
First, make a syrup for the beets by heating 2 cups water with 2 cups sugar, 2 cups cider vinegar, 1 tsp cloves, 1 tsp allspice, and 1 Tbsp cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Boil gently for 10 minutes and then turn off heat.
In a separate pot, cook beets until tender. Cut the leafy tops off the beets before boiling. Once tender, dip beets into cold water and peel off the skins. Slice or cut into cubes and place in a mason jar. Pour syrup over beets to cover. If you plan to can the beets, follow standard canning instructions (including making sure you sterilize your jars). Refrigerated pickled beets don't need to be canned and sealed. They can simply be put in the fridge and will last for some time there. Mine have been in there for a year and they are still delicious! My new batch, however, is about to replace them. Enjoy!