Old-fashioned pickled beets      

A tasty way to enjoy a nutritious vegetable!

I have always adored beets. Growing up, one of the greatest treats of early summer came after thinning the long row of beets in our family’s garden, to give the vegetables more room to grow. My mom would steam up the tiny beets and their leafy tops, serving them up with a generous sprinkle of vinegar and a dollop of butter. We also enjoyed cooked beets with many meals, and made many large batches of pickled beets which were a welcome addition to any wintertime plate. Today, I usually make just a couple of jars at a time and they disappear very quickly. As for their nutritional value, beets are an excellent source of folate, vitamins A and C, fibre and potassium – all the more reason to get pickling (and there are lots more recipes on this site whenever you’re ready)!


  • 8 – 10 medium-sized beets
  • 3 cups (750 mL) white vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups (270 g) brown sugar


  • Scrub the beets then place in a large saucepan of water. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, until largest beet is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.
  • While beets are cooking, wash two 500 mL canning jars and place in an oven that’s been heated to 220F then turned off. Place the rings and new sealer lids in a small saucepan of water and bring to a simmer.
  • Also while beets are cooking, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil in a medium-sized pot placed over medium heat. When boiling, reduce heat to low and cover to keep warm.
  • When beets are cooked, drain them, then peel under cold running water, trimming off stem and root ends. They will stain your hands (the colour comes off in a few hours) so wear kitchen gloves if this is a concern.
  • Cut the beets into small pieces (less than 1 inch / 2.5 cm in size) and place them in the sterilized jars. When jars are filled with beets, carefully add hot brine, filling jars to within 1/4 inch (.6 cm) of the top.
  • Wipe the tops of the jars and place sealer lid and ring on top. Process in a hot water bath, for longer shelf-stable storage if you wish.
  • Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate if you haven’t processed in a hot water bath. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Makes two 500 mL jars; recipe can easily be multiplied.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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