I always love a pickled element to my salads. A bright, tangy pop of flavor in the midst of a bowl full of greens. This week, I’ve pickled a batch of golden beets!
These naturally sweet, roasted golden beets are pickled in a brine flavored with tangy white balsamic vinegar, spicy cloves, peppercorns, juniper berries, fragrant tarragon & sweet local honey. And as you already know, the longer they sit, the better they get!
I think beets, right out of the dirt, are one of the most beautiful vegetables around. Even the stems and greens are edible and make a great substitute for chard or spinach. Perfect in soups, stir fries and braises. Beets are low in calories and a great source of nutrients, fiber and Vitamin C. You can read more about my love of beets in a previous post, You Can’t BEET These.
Before you pickle them, you will need to cook the beets. You can certainly steam or boil them. I like to roast them. I love the warm, sweet, earthy flavor of roasted beets. Plus, in the oven they go, and you don’t have to baby sit a pot of simmering water. Simply clean and trim the beets. You don’t need to peel them. I place the smaller beets in groups of three; the larger beets get their own space. Wrap them loosely in foil.
Once they are cool enough to handle, simply wipe the skins off with a paper towel. Cut them into any shape you’d like. For pickling, I usually cut mine into small wedges.
The pickling mix I use is often the same no matter what veggie I’m pickling. Sometimes I change the vinegar I use. And adding an herb really changes the flavor of the brine as well. My favorite herb is tarragon. I love the clean, licorice flavor. It really adds great flavor to the brine.
You can certainly make the beets ahead of time. Just layer the beets and sprigs of tarragon in a big jar. Simmer your spicy honey brine for 10 minutes before letting it cool to room temperature. Pour the brine over the beets and refrigerate at least 24 hours. The longer these sit in your fridge, the better they get. Without the official canning process, these last in my fridge about 4-6 weeks. Though some say they last up to 3 months, mine have never made it past 3 weeks!
Pickled beets are so versatile and can be flavored in so many ways. Here’s how you can Make Them Your Own:
- I used golden beets this time. You can certainly use red beets or a mix. Just know that your pickling brine will be darker in color and mixing the beets will stain the golden beets red.
- I used white balsamic vinegar for this recipe. But a lot of times I used rice wine vinegar. Red or white wine vinegars would be good. Apple cider vinegar is great, too. Just think about the flavors you want to put together and choose your vinegar based on that.
- I used tarragon for this jar of beets. Any herb is great. How about fresh thyme, rosemary, or chives? Use your favorite.
- Honey was my preferred sweetener for these earthy beets. You can use sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, or molasses.
- I wanted these beets to have a sweet, light flavor. But I’ve also had beets soaked in white wine and thyme, dark balsamic vinegar, and even chili pepper! Just use your imagination and you can go to some very creative places with this recipe.
- Use more or less peppercorns, juniper berries and cloves to suit your likes. It’s all up to you!
We don’t have to agree on anything to be kind to one another.
- 6 large beets, cleaned and trimmed
- 1 cup of white balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 Tablespoons of honey
- 1 Tablespoon of mixed peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon of whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon of juniper berries
- 3-4 sprigs of tarragon
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the washed, wet beets in aluminum foil.
- Group smaller beets in packets of 2-3.
- Place the larger beets in their own foil.
- Loosely close the foil.
- Roast for50-60 minutes.
- Check the beets halfway through cooking.
- If they start to look dry, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of water over them and rewrap.
- The beets are done when easily pierced with a fork.
- Let them cool enough to handle and rub with a paper towel to remove the skins.
- While the beets are cooking, prepare the brine.
- Place the vinegar, water, honey, cloves, peppercorns, juniper berries and salt in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, making sure the honey is absorbed.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Slice the beets into small wedges.
- Layer the beets with sprigs of tarragon in a large mason jar.
- Pour the cooled brine over the beets.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using.
- Will last 4-6 weeks, refrigerated.
All of my salads and dressings are just a starting place for your imagination. So feel free to add or swap ingredients and do what works for you!