A few weekends ago I harvested some of the beets from my garden specifically for their beet greens– because we all know I LOVE beet greens— and had to do something with the beets themselves. I had never tried pickling so I gave it a shot! I’m not going to provide any recipe links here because I looked at maybe 10 or so random ones and then took this my own direction anyhow. But in a sort of instructional, this pickled cucumber recipe mentions that you basically must have a 1:1 ratio of some kind of vinegar to water and then about 2 tablespoons of salt per 3 cups of liquid.
For my recipe I used my chioggia beets (that’s “candycane” beets if you listen to my grandma) straight from my garden. I scrubbed and cleaned them up and then used a mandolin to slice them as thinly as possible. I also used about a half of a red onion, sliced thinly on the mandolin. Layer the raw, yes raw, beets and onions in a large jar.

A note on the raw beets– most of the recipes, even for “quick” pickled beets, required cooking the beets somehow. I didn’t have the time or energy to cook my beets and for a summer dish, that would introduce more heat into the equation. Instead, because beets can be eaten raw and mine were sliced very thinly I decided to keep them raw. Also, because chioggia beets are light in color and cooking them virtually eliminates their pretty rings, I wanted to keep them as is.

Boil the vinegar (I used red wine, rice wine and some regular white vinegar mixed together, about a cup, but you can use any one or many types) with a bay leaf or two, some peppercorns, salt, sugar, water and any seasonings desired. Once boiling, pour over the jarred vegetables. This is an old hand-me-down mason jar I’ve had around. It doesn’t seal perfectly without a rubber gasket since it’s glass on glass so I just added some plastic wrap to seal it a little better.

In a day or two the beets will taste pickled but will remain slightly crunchy. My husband and I enjoyed these tremendously on hotdogs but they’re also wonderful plain. Mine are on the extremely vinegary side of the spectrum, maybe too much so for a salad but I would still try it. Overall this recipe was super easy and a great use for beets that I didn’t want to take the time to cook.

Recipe for Quick and Easy Crunchy Pickled Beets

  • 1 cup of vinegar (use red wine, white wine, rice vinegar or any combination)2
  • Bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns (or 1 tsp. pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Optional: any additional seasonings, garlic, whole peppers, etc.
  • About 1/2 pound of pickled beets
  • 1/2 Onion
  1. Combine vinegar through water and bring to boil (with any optional spices).
  2. While liquid is boiling, thinly slice beets and onion and layer in a jar (with any optional peppers, garlic, etc.)
  3. Pour boiling liquid over beets and onions in jar. Close jar and let rest until it comes to room temperature then store in the refrigerator. Beets will be ready in 24-48 hours.