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Dec 2, 2013 10:03 PM

Pickled Beets that aren't sweet

I love pickles of all kinds, but I find most pickled beets too sweet. I tried some that were pickled in a spicy salt brine, and they were delicious! I would really like to make these myself but don't have much experience with pickles. Does anyone know where I can find a good recipe for salty pickled beets? Or any pickled beets recipe that uses little to no sugar? And any pickling tips would be very appreciated.

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  1. You can do easy refrigerator pickles with beets - roast the beets, peel them, slice them, sprinkle lightly with salt, and layer them in a jar or plastic container, and cover with white vinegar and water (half and half, or all vinegar if you like them really potent). Let them sit for 3 days to a week, and then enjoy. They'll keep for weeks.

    Because it's a quick pickle it's easy to adjust - I'd try a teaspoon of salt and half vinegar half water a medium sized beet to start with, and adjust from there.

    As an aside - I do pickled onions with this method all the time, but I salt the sliced onion and let them sit for an hour, rinse off the extra salt, and add pickling spice and vinegar. Beets and onions would work well together, too.

    1. I use this recipe, for turnips, beets and carrots in all combinations & proportions. I usually add in some jalapeno slices or wedges.

      3 Replies
        1. re: magiesmom

          Yes, this is a great recipe. They are very close to what a local Middle Eastern restaurant makes, which I thought were all beets. I use an extra beet in David's recipe because I want that deep beet color. I believe David says they are ready to eat in a week. I think they are best after at least a week in the fridge, so 2 weeks from the start. I have also found them to last much longer than he says.

      1. I use the recipe in Bradly Ogden's first cookbook (which may or may not still be in print, it's pretty old).

        It's a nice mild pickle that maintains the earthiness of the beets. It's pretty easy, I can post it later tonight if you're interested.

        1. After a lot of trial and error my basic brine is 1 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, 2 tbsp salt, and 0 to 2 tbsp sugar. That's the most vinegar I ever use. Often I go with 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar, as in the pickled turnip recipe tcamp suggests (I've made those, and they are indeed good). In any case, it's always 2 tbsp salt to 3 cups liquid.

          Beets need be roasted and peeled first. You'll need to figure out how long to cook them to get the texture you like. Leave out the sugar entirely - beets are sweet enough on their own. I don't know what was in the beets you had, but I keep the pickling spices simple. Usually bay leaf, crushed red pepper, and crushed garlic. For beets I add slivered onions instead of garlic.

          Oh, yes. Cider or white wine vinegar, not distilled vinegar.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Zeldog

            The Liebovitz recipe uses raw beets.

          2. Thanks everyone! I'm going to have to try all of these!

            I just got a large bunch of parsnips from a friend - has anyone tried pickling parsnips? These pickling techniques should work on them too, correct?

            1 Reply
            1. re: macamia

              Yes, the technique works but I think they taste funny, too sweet.