Beetroot is in season and pickling is a simple way to preserve it. You don’t need loads of tools or time, just a small amount of preparation and space in your cupboard.
I think beetroot is one of the most beautiful vegetables. The colour of the beet itself along with the bright green leaves with red stalks are so distinctive. If you cut them finely you can see the rings inside of the root and if you grow an unusual variety you can enjoy yellow, orange and pale pink beetroot as well. Pickling beetroot is a great way to add an extra zing to salads that is fat free.
During the summer our table always has at least 1 jar of pickled vegetables to share around. A jar of fresh pickle makes a lovely alternative to bringing flowers or sweet treats as a gift to friends too.
This week I used the most common beetroot (boltardy) available in supermarkets along with 1 red onion to make a swift pickle. I’m not a fan of a pungent vinegar base in the jar so I counteracted this with some spices in the pan while heating the base liquid.
Don’t forget that beetroot is still used to this day as a natural food colouring and dye for some clothes so it’s best to wear rubber gloves when handling it or if you don’t have any gloves, coat your hands in a thin layer of vegetable oil as a barrier first.
If you just don’t have the time to cook and peel the beetroot from scratch you can get vacuum packed (cooked) beetroots in many supermarkets nowadays. Just skip instructions 1-9 in the method and then continue from there. If you don’t like any of the spices I’ve used then take them out. The most important part of the recipe is the water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Take that as a starting point.
- 3 medium beetroots
- 1 small red onion
- 150ml white vinegar (or any pale vinegar of your choice)
- 150ml water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 all spice berries
- 2 cloves
- 2 black peppercorns
- 1 bayleaf (dried is fine)
- Pinch of dried mustard seeds
- Baking tray
- Sharp Knife
- Chopping Board
- Rubber Gloves
- 500ml clean jar for the pickled beetroot
- Dessert Spoon
- Small Saucepan
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius (please note I use a fan oven).
- Trim any leaves from the beetroot and wrap each individually tightly with tinfoil into a parcel.
- Place onto the baking tray and bake in the oven for 45 mins.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least an hour. Beetroot are a root vegetable and can retain the heat very well so otherwise you’ll scald yourself with the next step. If you’re planning ahead you could cook the beetroot before going to bed and leave in the oven overnight to cool.
- Remove the tinfoil and get your rubber gloves on!
- Preheat the oven to 120 degrees Celcius.
- Wipe down the baking tray, put the jar on the tray with the lid off and put it in the oven to sterilise.
- Using the chopping board and knife, peel the skin from the beetroot.
- Fill the saucepan with the vinegar, water, sugar, salt & spices and heat on the hob at a medium setting. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want the mixture to boil, just heat through.
- Slice the beetroot thinly.
- Peel and slice the onion.
- Remove the jar from the oven.
- Layer the onion and beetroot in the jar, carefully as the jar will be warm.
- Turn off the hob.
- Using the dessert spoon remove all the visible spices from the saucepan.
- Pour the liquid over the vegetables and leave to cool before sealing the jar.
- Once cool keep in the fridge. It should keep for over 1 month, if it lasts that long!
I would love to give this a go. I really love beetroot too.
It’s a light pickle so you retain much of the flavour of the pickle thanks to the half & half water/vinegar. Also why it shouldn’t last much longer than a month. Do, give it a go!
Thank you for this, Caítríona ~ I made the recipe tonight, as turning the cooker on during the day would have been a bit suicidal (!) ~ it’s been in the high 80’s for a few days here now 🙂 Anyhoo, I tried the beetroot prep 3 different ways (if you’re interested, I’ll share it here?) and I loved the spices/flavoring your recipe contains. I did use apple cider vinegar, instead of white vinegar (that was just preference more than anything) and am very happy to say we are stocked up with pickled beetroot now for at least the next few weeks! I honestly don’t think I’ll ever buy another jar of that overly pickled stuff they sell in shops again 🙂
Thanks Kara. I actually would prefer cider vinegar myself, just I had none in the house that day. Any pale vinegar is good for this recipe. What ways did you prep the beetroot that sounds very interesting?
It’s such a nice recipe, I’m sure it works with any vinegar (except balsamic?) Because the weather’s been so hot here and I didn’t want to have the oven on for a long time even at night, I was brainstorming about how I could get around roasting them whole, and so cutting down on the roasting time. So I got out the food processor, and put some of the beetroots through the shredder disc – and then marinated them raw in the vinegar/spice liquid (by the way, if you’re not used to raw veggies, you might think that sounds terrible, but I promise you raw beetroots are some of the nicest veg around) 🙂 Then I used the thin slicer disc (sliced them very finely), and did the same. Next and finally, I sliced the remaining beetroots about 1/4 of an inch thick by hand and put them into the foil packets and followed the rest of your recipe instructions. So there you have it; your beetroots, three ways! Sorry for the long reply~hope you don’t mind 🙂 Next up for me is your incredible looking beetroot cake!
Great ideas Kara. I’d just be afraid that because it’s a light pickle, the beetroot might not “cook” enough in the vinegar mixture which is why I recommend cooking it first. Mind you I’m very envious of your heat!
Oh sure, I understand, Catriona. Sending sunshine & gratitude your way; thanks for all you share here with us!
Hey what’s the difference between boiling and roasting them.
When you boil beetroot you leech some of the nutrients and colour out into the water. When you roast beetroot you get a much more concentrated flavour and colour.