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Preserving and Cooking with Beets

by Dawn
roasted beets

Recipes and Preserving Tips for this Popular Root Vegetable

This is the first year I’ve successfully grown beets, although I’ve purchased them from farmers’ markets before. The problem is that they’re terribly expensive around here (maybe it’s like that everywhere?), so when I get some, whether home-grown or purchased, I want to make sure I take full advantage of them.

So, what to do with those precious purple orbs once they’re in your possession? I’ll share my favorite thing to do with them, but give you some other ideas too, in case you want to do some experimenting.

I mean, what fun is gardening if you don’t do a little experimenting along the way, right?

My most favorite way to eat beets is pickled. They’re just yummy this way, don’t you agree?

Welcome to the 6th installment of my Abundant Harvest series. If you’ve missed the others, you can find them here: Okonomiyaki with Garlic Scapes, Egyptian Walking Onions, Zucchini, Peaches, and Peppers.

I have a recipe to share with you here, but if you’d like the super convenient, printable version, just go here to sign up and you’ll get the password for my Resource Library with the pickled beet recipe, plus some other recipes and tons and tons of gardening tips right at your fingertips.

beets fresh from garden
They’re so fresh I haven’t even washed the dirt off yet!

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Pickled Beets


  • 10 cups beets (skins removed and cut into pieces)
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp pickling spice
  • Small piece of cheesecloth and twist tie


NOTE: Beet juice stains. Skin, counters, sinks, clothes….you name it, it stains it. Wear gloves when handling the beets, PLEASE. You might want to discard the skins into a bowl or at least onto some paper towels to make cleanup easier as well. Wear old clothes, too, just in case.

pickled beets in jars
  1. First, prepare your beets. Make life easy and boil them for 30 minutes first. Don’t forget your gloves to handle the beets. Plunge the beets a few at a time into ice water when the 30 minutes is up and rub them with your fingers. The skins should come right off. If they don’t, boil them for a couple more minutes. Cut the beets into chunks or slices, whichever you prefer.
  2. Tie the pickling spice into the cheesecloth to make a spice bag. You can secure it with a twist tie, tie it into a knot or secure with twine.
  3. Combine the vinegar, water and sugar, then add the spice bag.
  4. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  5. Once sugar is dissolved, reduce heat and boil mixture gently for 15 minutes.
  6. Discard the spice bag.
  7. Add the beets and return mixture to a boil.
  8. At this point, you may choose to put the beets into containers and store them in the fridge. They should last several weeks this way.

If you prefer to can them for longer preservation, follow the steps below:

  • Prepare 3 quart jars or 6 pint jars, lids, and rings as instructed in a book such as the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. If you decide to buy the book, pay the extra few dollars and get the spiral-bound version, you’ll thank me later.
  • Ladle the hot beets and liquid into the jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.
  • Wipe rims, add lids and hand tighten rings.
  • Process in a hot water bath canner for 35 minutes for quarts or 30 minutes for pints.
  • Check jars for seal after 24 hours and place any unsealed jars in the fridge to be used immediately, or reprocess per the Ball book.

You’ll find this recipe in the Ball book I mentioned, but I’ve tweaked it quite a bit as the recipe didn’t make nearly enough liquid to cover the beets.

This recipe, as written, also makes very spicy pickled beets. They’re not hot spicy, just very flavorful. If you prefer milder beets, you may want to try using less pickling spice in the spice bag. Hubby won’t let me mess with this recipe because he loves it so much, so I haven’t been able to experiment!

Maybe you’re not a fan of pickled beets, or you’d like to expand your horizons. I can help!

Beet Greens Recipes

beet greens

Did you know you can use the beet greens as well as the beets themselves? Yup, you can.

How about Sauteed Beet Greens with Garlic & Olive Oil?

This recipe ups the ante and calls for sauteing them with bacon. (and everything’s better with bacon!)

Here are 7 more ways to use beet greens from Attainable Sustainable. Betcha didn’t know there were this many ways to use beet greens, huh?

Freezing your Beets

I have to admit I’ve never frozen beets because we love pickled beets so much, but it’s quite simple to do.

Just prepare your beets like you would above for the pickled beets, boiling them and removing the skins.

Once the skins have been removed, cut your beets into chunks or slices, whichever you prefer.

Place them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to freezer bags.

Try to get as much air out of the bags as possible or use a vacuum sealer to prevent freezer burn. I like this vacuum sealer as it’s the same brand I have and is reasonably priced. I haven’t used this exact one as mine is more than 10 years old, but mine’s still going strong, so I’m really comfortable recommending the Food Saver brand.

Easy Roasted Beets

Well, relatively easy anyway. The only “problem” with roasting beets is that you can’t boil them first to get the skins off, so you have to do it by hand. *sigh* It’s ok, it’s not too hard to do.

roasted beets and carrots

First, put on your gloves and your old clothes (or apron!)

Prepare your beets by scrubbing them really well with a stiff brush to get off any dirt (like you would a potato). Then cut the top and bottom off the beet and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skins. You can also use a paring knife, but I’m so bad with a knife that a peeler is safer for me and my fingers!

Once they’re peeled, slice your beets about 1/4″ thick. Place them in a bowl and drizzle them with olive oil and a little sea salt.

Then place them in the oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes, or until they’re tender when pierced with a fork. Season with additional salt to taste and enjoy!


More Beet Recipes for you

  • Bon Appetit recipe collection (38 beet recipes)
  • Allrecipes.com Beet recipe collection (Make sure you have some time if you click on this one, you’re gonna get sucked in!)
  • Taste of Home (20 beet recipes ~ their Winter Beet Salad looks a-maz-ing!)
  • Food Network’s take on beet recipes will keep you busy for quite awhile too!
  • I even found this Beet Recipe Book on Amazon (and it’s FREE if you have a Kindle!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and it’s given you some good ideas of what to do with your beets.

Don’t forget, if you’d like a printable copy of the Pickled Beets recipe, head on over here to sign up and you’ll receive the password for my FREE Resource Library in your email inbox.

You’ll find a couple of pinnable images below. Please pin to your Recipes or Food Preservation boards for future reference.

Otherwise, thank you for reading, smile and have a crazy organic day!

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Recipes and Preserving Tips for this Popular Root Vegetable


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Sarita 08/21/2019 - 9:15 pm

Love pickled beets – and they grow well in cold climates. I remember eating beets as a kid and rolling them over my lips to stain them like lipstick!!

Linda Carlson 08/21/2019 - 7:24 pm

Love love beets. pickled, roasted, steamed… you name it. I believe they are my favorite veggie. We ate the last of them from the garden last night. I also love the beet greens as much as the beets.

Nikki Gwin 08/20/2019 - 10:07 am

I’ve eaten pickled beets all my life but a couple of years ago, roasting them became quite the fad, so I decided to give it a try. It was Thanksgiving and my Mama and sister were here, and so was my daughter and her family. No one was a fan. They still tasted like dirt. LOL
But while I was at Mama’s just a couple of weeks ago, we made pickled beets. So now I know her secret!
I’ve never grown them though. I’ve not had much luck with root crops here. But maybe once I really get my soil amended more, I’ll give it another shot.
🙂 gwingal

Dawn 08/20/2019 - 12:34 pm

I wonder if it’s just too hot there for root crops? I think the secret to the roasted ones is to get them really fresh and quite small. I’ve had them before and thought they tasted like dirt, but roasting them fresh out of the garden when they’re still small (like the size of a ping-pong ball or smaller) really makes a difference.

Nikki Gwin 08/21/2019 - 9:24 pm

Great tip! I’ll look for small ones next time. 🙂


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