I have resisted making pickled beets. So often in the United States, pickled is the only way we know beets. That may be why most Americans are not fans of the lovely root vegetable. I came to love beets while we lived in Poland. We had them in soups, roasted, in salads, in galettes. I’ve been growing beets, a candy cane variety. They’re very pretty, but I don’t know that I’ll plant these again. The less intense color seems to mean less flavor too.
With a a couple bunches of my candy cane beets still to harvest, I found a recipe in the Septemeber 2012 issue of Bon Appetit for pickled vegetables. I liked that they used some herbs and spices in the pickling liquid. I started with their recipe and bumped it up a bit.
So so this is how my mom, my sister, and I spent the afternoon. Picking beets, cleaning beets (my sis will vouch for what a chore that can be), and preparing this tart, colorful side dish.
This pickling liquid will be used again, maybe on just radishes. I think they’ll make an interesting garnish.
- 1 pounds fresh pearl onions
- 3 cups white wine vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 bunches radishes, trimmed
- 2 bunches baby beets, trimmed
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/4 cup snipped flat leaf parsley
- Pour hot water over the onions and let stand for 20 minutes
- Peel the onions, leaving the root end attached
- Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme to a boil, simmer for 3 minutes
- Add the onions and simmer for 10 minutes
- Remove the onions with a slotted spoon, move to a bowl and add just enough pickling liquid to cover
- Add the radishes to the pickling liquid and simmer 13 minutes
- Remove the radishes with a slotted spoon, move to a bowl and add just enough pickling liquid to cover
- Add beets to liquid and simmer 18 minutes, using a slotted spoon remove beets
- When cool enough to handle, slice beets in halves or quarters
- Strain liquid from onions and radishes
- Combine with beets, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkle with parsley, and season with additional sea salt serve chilled
For a stronger pickle, refrigerate in picking liquid overnight or up to one week.