03 September 2011

Ethel Gendron's Beet Pickles

...sterilized jars upside down to keep the insides clean

Remember that pickled beets recipe that I was hoping to get? My sister-in-law came through for me and called it in the other day. Hurray! I can make pickled beets as a surprise for Silent Bob. He will be SO pleased  that I finally did something different with the produce! So here we go ... 

...sweet and sour brine ingredients

Small batch here I come. I'm planning to make 3 or 4 pint jars, as that's about all we'll eat over the course of the winter. To my mind, picked beets are a 'once in a blue moon'  side dish.  The recipe printed is just as Ethel gave it to Mary's (sis-in-law) neighbor, so if you make it you'll get 4 quarts of finished pickled beets. I'm halving the recipe, so think before you act, folks!

... Ferris listening to a cricket that's hiding in the beet greens

... listening for 'the ping'

Ethel Gendron's Beet Pickles

Makes: 4 to 5 quarts


4 qts. small beets, leave an inch of greens on the tops and trim just the trailing tip of root
3 c. cider vinegar
2 c. water
2 ½ c. sugar
2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. kosher salt

... ready to pack the jars

Preparing to Make the Pickles:

1. Place rings and lids in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pan, remove it from the heat and place it at an open 'station' that gives you plenty of work room.

2. Place 4 quart-sized jars on a rack in a large canning pan that is filled with clean water. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat and leave the jars in the hot water until ready to pack.

3. Trim the beets as instructed above and wash them with a scrub brush to remove any dirt.

Making the Pickles:

1. Bring the beets to a boil in a deep saucepan and cook just until they can be pierced with a sharp knife.

2. Spoon the beets into a colander and leave until they can be handled. Peel them and trim the ends.

3. Slice the beets to ¼-inch thickness, reserving the juices that accumulate on the cutting plate, and set them aside. (Notice I say plate ... beet juice will be a pain to clean from any cutting board, wooden or plastic resin - use a glass plate. Trust me on this.)

4. Bring the cider vinegar, water, and sugar to a boil. 

5. Lower the heat and add the allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and salt ... let the brine simmer for 15 minutes. Then, add the beets and reserved juices and cook them in the brine for 5 minutes.

warning ... beet juice stains are intense

6. Pack the beets into the sterilized jars. Pour the brine over the tops, divide the cloves between the jars.

7. Wipe the top edges of each jar and place the rings and lids on, screwing them down securely.

8. Place in a hot water bath that covers the jars by at least 2 inches and bring to a boil. Let pickles continue to sit in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

9. Remove the jars to a towel-covered countertop, wipe the jars dry and check the lids once more to make sure they're secure. Listen for the 'ping' of the lids, making a safe seal. 

...pickle brine has another use ... see below!

10. Let the jars cool on the counter overnight and then store in a cool dark place.

Note: My sister-in-law, Mary says she saves the brine after eating the jars of these pickles, reheats it, and places peeled, hard-boiled eggs in it while it's still hot. She lets them cool off and then refrigerates them in the brine for a day or two to 'pickle' and has them as hors d'ouerves with slices of bread and other cocktail fare. She says the eggs take on the loveliest shade of pink! How interesting is that?


  1. These sound so old fashioned, like something that would win the blue ribbon at the country fair! I'm already dreaming about what I would serve them with.

  2. When I was growing up we always had them ice cold chopped up on a salad. I really like the sound of this recipe. I bet they would be good in cole slaw too.

  3. I love the sound of this recipe. I always stick a few hard boiled in my pickled beets brine at Easter. Then I make deviled eggs with them topped with a small amount of fresh dill. Mmmmm :) They look fantastic for Easter all pink. :)

  4. I was never keen on beets. Maybe because the school cafeteria had the canned horrible ones that they sliced. Yuck! I love just about anything pickled, so I will have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I was never a beet fan until I tasted my friend Jose's mom's beats - to die for! I'll bet there's nothing like fresh pickles beats! I grew beets this summer for the first time. I usually ended up roasting them, they were so delicious, just like candy! I'm now a beet convert! LOL!!! Thanks for a great recipe!

    Happy cooking!


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