For as long as I can remember, despite my mom’s pickling and jamming under my nose, pickles have sounded like an intimidating kitchen project. Well, I’ve learned a thing or two over the past year from my fermentation friends and gurus, including these easy-as-pie and jaw-dropping-good refrigerator pickled beets! These add the most gleeful pizzaz to any salad, mid-day snack and other recipes to come. They come packed with flavor, so dressings and other adornments can be kept to a minimum. Give it a whirl!
Here’s a good snapshot of the difference between refrigerator pickles, canned or processing pickles, and lacto-fermented pickles. Refrigerator pickles are by far the easiest for processing a fairly small amount of vegetables (so you don’t steal all that refrigerator space!). vs. processed pickles:
- The Basics:
- Beets - 9 or so beets
- Organic cane sugar - 2/3 cup
- Cider vinegar - 1 cup
- Water - 1 cup
- Glass jars - 2 quart glass jars with screw caps and lids
- Pick one variation of spices -
- Variation #1:
- Ginger - 1 tablespoon, finely sliced
- Jalapeno - 1 tablespoon, finely sliced
- Cumin seed - 1/4 teaspoon
- Spice Variation #2:
- Cinnamon stick - 1/2 cinnamon stick
- Cardamom - 2 pods cardamom
- Berries - 5 all spice berries
- Cloves - 5 cloves
- Slice the roots and leaves off the beets, and scrub the beets to remove any dirt.
- Fill one large pot with water, and submerge the whole beets. Bring the water to a boil, and boil the beets for about 30 minutes.
- While the beets are boiling, sterilize the jars. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Submerge two quart glass jars and caps in the water and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize. Remove with tongs and place upright on a tea towel or hot pad.
- Check to see if the beets are done by sticking a fork in the biggest beet. If it slides in easily, they are ready.
- Remove the beets and rinse with cold water to cool them quickly. Peel the skin off the beats with your hands - the skin will slide right off.
- Cut the beets in quarters. Fill each jar 2/3 of the way up with beets.
- Next, bring the sugar, water, vinegar and your spice combination to a boil (I suggest one jar of each!).
- Pour the liquid into the jars (you can use a funnel), covering the beets entirely. Seal the jars with the caps, and store them in the refrigerator for about 4 days before sampling. After four days, start devouring!