Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gail’s Pickled Beets

My neighbor called the other day and asked me for my recipe for pickled beets. I have been making them for more than thirty years and they are a family favorite. I was surprised to find I have never written down my recipe. It is based on watching my grandmother and a recipe from the second edition of Putting Food By, 1975 p. 444.

15 lbs. beets without tops
6 cups vinegar
6 cups sugar
1 recipe Hilltop Herbs Beet Pickle Mix
12 pint jars and lids, washed and held in hot water

Wash beets leaving root and 2” of stem. Put beets in a large kettle and cover with water. Boil until tender when pierced with fork.

While beets are cooking make the pickling syrup in a large stainless or enamel kettle. Mix together vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Let simmer.

Dunk beets in cold water to handle. Slip off skins, stem and root. Slice. They can be left whole if they are baby beets. As the beets are sliced, put them in the kettle of hot pickling syrup.

When all the beets are sliced, start filling jars one at a time. Put 1 Tbsp. of beet pickle mix in jar. Fill loosely with beets. Add hot syrup, leaving ½” of headroom. Seal and set jar in canner filled with hot water.

When canner is full, bring to boil and process for 30 minutes.

Hilltop Herbs Beet Pickle Mix

This is one of the mixes, in a family size recipe, I created and sold when I was doing business as Hilltop Herbs.

3 Tbsp. Mustard Seed
2 1/2 Tbsp. Onion Flakes
5 (3”) Cinnamon Sticks, crushed
2 1/2 Tbsp. Whole Allspice
1 1/2 Tbsp. Celery Seed

Mix all together. Use 1 Tablespoon per pint jar of beets.
Yield: enough for 12 pints of pickled beets, 1 canner full.

Substitution: If you would prefer to use fresh onion rings, delete the onion flakes from the mix. Thinly slice several onions into rings and heat them in the syrup with the beets. Be sure to put some rings in each jar.

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