Pickled Beets

An old Yankee favorite, these beets are made with raspberry vinegar instead of the typical apple cider vinegar. The natural sweetness of the cooked beets is highlighted by the vinegar and the sweet onion. Check the acidity percentage on the raspberry vinegar (listed as either acetic acid or acidity). You want no more than 5% acidity. A higher percentage with make the pickle too harsh and obliterate the raspberry flavor. These beets are not canned, simply refrigerated. They will keep for a week or two in the fridge, but may not last that long! Serve the beets with fish, chicken, pork, ham, cheeses, as part of an antipasto, or with sandwiches.

1 1/2 pounds beets of choice (red, golden)
1 1/2 cups raspberry vinegar (4.5-5% acidity)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, such as French Grey 
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, such as Tellicherry
1 good-size bay leaf
1 sweet onion such as Vidalia or Maui, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Place the beets in a steamer basket over water. Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer the water, and steam the beets until tender. Check the water level occasionally and replenish as needed. The time it takes to cook the beets depends on their size.

If you prefer, you may boil the beets. Place them in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil until tender, but still slightly firm. Again, timing depends on the size of your beets.

While the beets cook, combine the vinegar, sugar, sea salt, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Remove and discard the bay leaf.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel, cut into wedges or 1/2" slices and place in a bowl. Add the vinegar mixture and onion slices and toss together. Cover, refrigerate, and let marinate fro a minimum of 24 hours before serving. 

Other flavorings you could add to the vinegar:

coriander seeds
red pepper flakes
dill seeds or freshly chopped dill at the end of cooking
fennel seed
mustard seed
slices of fresh ginger

Recipe and Photograph Copyright Deirdre Davis 2022
Use of content requires permission.
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