The following is an excerpt from Tart and Sweet: 101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern Kitchen (Rodale, 2011). The excerpt is from Chapter 5: Spring.
Hearty beet salads have become a mainstay on many restaurant menus. These sweet beets are perfect for making your own beet salad at home. They complement the flavors of sharp arugula, shavings of nutty Parmesan, and earthy walnuts. They’re also delicious paired with citrus flavors and blue cheese, as in the recipe below.
Sweet Apple Cider Baby Beets
5 pounds baby beets, scrubbed
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 star anise pod
1 cinnamon stick
1. Trim the beets by cutting off the top part, near the stem, as well as the root “tail.” Place the beets in a large nonreactive pot. Cover with water and boil for about 15 minutes, or until the beets are just tender. Strain and run the beets under cold water. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and set the beets aside.
2. Rinse the pot and bring the vinegar, water, salt, and brown sugar to a boil.
3. Place allspice, peppercorns, star anise, and cinnamon in each hot jar. Tightly pack beets into the jars without bruising them. Pour boiling brine over the beets, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Make sure the beets are fully covered with the liquid.
4. Check for air bubbles, wipe the rims, and seal. Process for 10 minutes, adjusting for elevation.
YIELD: 4 pints
NOTE: The beet skins should slip off easily—just rub them with your fingers. You can wear latex gloves to prevent your fingers from getting stained. If you have trouble slipping off the skins, you can also use a vegetable peeler.
Two Easy Beet Salads for Two
1. Mix 5 or 6 sliced pickled beets, 1/2 thinly sliced red onion, and about 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill. Make a dressing by mixing 2 teaspoons freshly grated horseradish and 2 tablespoons crème fraîche. Spoon over the beet mixture.
2. Mix 5 or 6 sliced pickled beets, segments from 3 or 4 fresh Mandarin oranges or clementines, and 1/2 thinly sliced red onion; place over a bed of watercress. Make a quick dressing by whisking together a few tablespoons of the pickling liquid with a splash of olive or walnut oil. Toss the salad with the dressing. Top with a handful of chopped walnuts and crumbles of a creamy Maytag or Bayley Hazen blue cheese.
More Canning Recipes from Tart and Sweet: