Pickled beetroot is one of my favourite side dishes, or as an addition to leafy green salads, especially in summer. Beetroot is plentiful at this time of year and you can usually buy it in bulk at your local greengrocer’s at a good price. I mentioned in my post Grocery Finds & Savings in December that I bought a 5kg bag of beetroot for R29.00 which I used to make pickled beetroot for us. Although pickling beets is not a difficult process, it will require 2-3 hours of work in the kitchen so be prepared.
Pickling your own beetroot will cost you less than purchasing pickled beets in the shops. At the moment, a 750gr. jar of pickled beetroot costs on average R27.00. If you were to buy 4 ½ kg of pickled beetroot you would have to buy 6 jars in the shops which would cost you R162.00. I spent R29.00 for the beetroot and R19.00 for a 2-litre bottle of white vinegar, no name brand, which is really all you need to make pickled beetroot (adding garlic is optional). In total I spent R48.00 and saved R114.00.
Pickled beets will last several months if bottled properly and stored in the fridge so you can continue to enjoy the products of your labour over a longer period of time. This really makes the effort of pickling beetroot worthwhile. Here’s how to make pickled beetroot, the really easy way!
2 litres White Vinegar
A few cloves of Garlic (optional)
You need to boil the beetroot and there are two different ways of doing this – boiling it on the stove or cooking it in the microwave.
If you plan on boiling the beets on the stove, wash them but do not peel. Add the beets to a pot of boiling water and continue to boil on fairly high heat until you can easily insert a knife or a fork into the beets and they feel soft. Remove the pot from the stove, strain the water and allow the beets to cool before peeling them.
If you plan on cooking the beets in the microwave, wash and peel them first. Microwave a few of them at a time in a suitable microwave dish with a lid. Don’t add any water. Allow up to 2 minutes for each beet, microwaving on high until you can easily insert a knife or a fork into the beets and they feel soft. Allow the beets to cool. In the meantime, sterilise the jars you’re going to use.
Once the beets have cooled down, they are now ready to be sliced, grated or cubed – you choose what you prefer. Bear in mind that beetroot which is finely grated or thinly sliced will absorb more vinegar and will therefore be more acidic. The opposite is true for thicker slices or cubes. If you are planning on adding garlic, use only freshly peeled garlic cloves and thinly slice or grate them.
Lastly, prepare the brine. For about 4 ½ kg of beetroot you’re going to need just under 2 litres of white vinegar. Measure the 2 litres of vinegar in cups then mix 2 parts (cups) vinegar to 1 part (cup) water. We find that this combination suits our taste but you might want to adjust that if you prefer slightly more acidic brine, or slightly less acidic.
Lay out the sterilised jars you’re going to use. Fill the jars with beetroot almost to the full, but not quite, packing the beets tightly, but not too tightly. Add the garlic if using. Top each jar with brine and close the lid. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
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