Preparation info

  • Makes


    one pint jars
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Art of Preserving

The Art of Preserving

By Lisa Atwood, Rebecca Courchesne and Rick Field

Published 2012

  • About

Pickled beets charm in salad preparations, lending color, texture, and their signature flavor. Try them layered with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil, or eat them straight from the jar. Any beet variety, from red to gold to red-and-white-striped Chioggias, can be used.


  • 1 lb (500 g) beets
  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
  • ¼ cup (2 oz/60 g) sugar, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp cardamom pods
  • 1 Tbsp whole cloves
  • Pinch of salt


    Have ready hot, sterilized jars and their lids.

    Put the beets into a large saucepan (if using different-colored beets, separate them into 2 saucepans) and add water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm). Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer until the beets are tender, 25–30 minutes. Drain the beets, reserving 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) of the cooking liquid.

    When the cooked beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and then cut into slices ¼ inch (6 mm) thick. Divide the beet slices and the onion slices among the jars.

    In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the reserved cooking liquid, the vinegar, sugar, cardamom, cloves, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring, just until the sugar is dissolved.

    Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into the jars, evenly distributing the spices and leaving ½ inch (12 mm) of headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.

    Process the jars for 7 minutes in a boiling-water bath (for detailed instructions, including cooling and testing seals, Canning Step by Step). Let the jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours and then set them aside for 1 week for the flavors to develop. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.