And the Beet Goes On

We can pickle that! Libby's Stovetop Pickled Beets.

We can pickle that! Libby’s Stovetop Pickled Beets.

For the longest time, the process of pickling seemed like something complicated and quite honestly inaccessible. Earlier this year, I asked my Nonna how to go about it. She provided some advice on how to pickle the likes of peppers and mushrooms, but the process kind of ended there since at the time, I had nothing to actually pickle.

Christmas was around the corner and there was a large amount of beets in the fridge. Suddenly, it was all clear: “We can pickle that!”

With Portlandia’s catch phrase in mind, I began searching for pickling recipes. I stumbled upon a simple recipe in Heirloom Cooking with the Brass Sisters. My partner offered the book to me over a year ago but it’s only recently that I’ve been consulting it. The book consists of a compilation of hand written recipes found and collected in yard sales and used bookstores. A true gem.

Washed and ready: beets.

Washed and ready: beets.

Libby’s Stovetop Pickled Beets

The recipe is from Elizabeth Corkery of Groton Massachusetts. The recipe is simple and effective. It has made me confident in my novice pickling skills!


  •  6 to 8 medium sized beets
  • 1 cup of vinegar (250 ML)
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ tsp. of salt
  • ¼ tsp. of whole cloves (which is about 4 or 5 cloves)
  • 1 cup of sliced onion (a medium sized onion)


  • Wash beets. Leave a bit of the stem; do not trim tails (this will prevent the beets from bleeding hence less of a mess and an elegant presentation). Add beets to a pot of boiling water. Cook for about 35 minutes.
  • Remove beets from pot and le cool. Peel and slice into about ¼ to ½ – inch-thick rounds (that’s what the book said, I eyeballed it).
  • Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt and cloves in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in beets and onions and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and place in a glass container and let the beets cool down.
  • Refrigerate overnight and voilà! The beets are ready to serve.

 The book:

Heirloom Cooking with the Brass Sisters
By Marilyn Brass and Sheila Brass, Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 285 pages.


4 thoughts on “And the Beet Goes On

  1. As yet I’ve never pickled. I did make a cranberry chutney several years ago, but wasn’t terribly keen. And, I’ve a large bag of red onions to make a sweet and tangy marmalade…if I get around to making it! I’m hoping your post will spur me into action.

  2. The embarrassing thing is that they’ve filmed 3 episodes that I know of within blocks of my house and wacky as the episodes seem, I “recognize” many of the characters especially the restaurant scene from “Is It Local?” LOL

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