Refrigerator Pickled Beets are an easy-to-make dish and just plain delicious. This recipe is one our most popular ones on What’s Cooking America. Some people have fond memories of eating pickled beets on their grandparents dinner table. You may even remember you Mother or Grandmother making and canning beets. This recipe gives you easy steps to re-create the traditional side dish right in your refrigerator and avoid the canning process althogether. My husband loves these Refrigerator Pickled Beets!
Since I, personally, do not like to take the time to can vegetables, I always want to either refrigerate or freeze them.
3 pounds fresh small whole beets (use similar size beets)* 2 cups apple cider vinegar 2 cups water 2 cups granulated sugar 3 or 4 garlic cloves, sliced in half
* Small beets can be pickled whole. Larger beets can be sliced in 1/4-inch slices or diced. In this recipe, I used several different varieties of beets that were varying sizes that I sliced.
Many beets are sold in bunches with the tops still attached, while others are sold with the tops removed. Look for beets that are firm, round, with a slender tap root (the large main root), a rich, color, and smooth over most of the surface. If beets are bunched, you can judge their freshness fairly accurately by the condition of the tops. Badly wilted or decayed tops indicate a lack of freshness, but the roots may be satisfactory if they are firm.
Oven-Roasted Fresh Beets:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rack in middle of oven.
Use tender, freshly picked beets.
Wash and scrub the whole beets to clean off any dirt. Leave the beet whole unless you have some extra large ones (if extra large, cut in half). Trim off the stems (leafy tops) and ends of the beets. Please don't throw away those fresh beet greens when cooking fresh beets. Cook the beet greens and enjoy a delicious and nutritious dish just like your grandparents grew up with. Learn Beet How To Cook Fresh Beet Greens.
On a large baking sheet, cover with aluminum foil. Place prepared beets, in a single layer, on top. Toss lightly with some olive oil to coat the beets. Place another large sheet of aluminum foil on top of the beets and crunch up the sides of the aluminum foil together to seal.
Place in oven and roast approximately 1 hour or until tender and easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Remove from oven and take off the top foil. Set aside to cool enough to handle.
When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off. They should peel easily by hand, but you can use a paring knife if you want. However, it is wise to use a paper towel or wear gloves to keep the beet juice from staining your hands.
Boiled Fresh Beets:
Use tender, freshly picked beets.
Wash, rinse and drain until all traces of garden soil are removed. Use a small vegetable brush if needed. Cut off leaves and stems, leaving about 1 inch of the root end. Reserve beet leaves for a recipe using them.
Place beets in large heavy pan and cover with water over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until fork tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Let beets cool until you can safely handle them.
Once cool enough to hand, peel the skin off. They should peel easily by hand, but you can use a paring knife if you want. However, it is wise to use a paper towel or wear gloves to keep the beet juice from staining your hands.
How to make pickling brine:
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, and garlic cloves; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar melts. Reduce heat and let the pickling brine simmer approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let brine cool before adding the cooked beets.
How to pickle beets:
Place sliced or whole cooked beet into a large jar that will fit in your refrigerator. NOTE: I personally like to slice the beets. Pour cooled Pickling Brine over the beets and gently stir. Place, covered, in the refrigerator.
Let them sit in the refrigerator, maybe stirring once in a while, at least a week before eating them. Give the beets a chance to “pickle” and develop flavor before eating. These Refrigerator Pickled Beets will last a long time in the refrigerator, probably 2 to 3 months.