Pickled beets

July 21, 2010

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Makes 4 pints

4 pounds beets
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/4 cups cider vinegar
3 cups thinly sliced onions
2 cups sugar
3 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 tablespoon whole mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Trim beet greens, leaving an inch of stem and the tails attached. Wash the beets and add to pot. Cook at a low boil until tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes, though time may be more or less depending on the size of the beets. Drain, cool, cut off tops and bottoms, and slide off skins. Cut into 1/2-inch chunks.

2. In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine water, vinegar, onions, sugar, cinnamon, mustard seed, allspice, cloves, and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add beets and heat mixture through. Remove cinnamon sticks and ladle beets into clean, hot pint canning jars, covering by 1/2 inch with liquid. Leave 1/2 inch of head space between the surface of the liquid and the lid. Screw lids on jars and gently swirl each to release trapped air bubbles. Remove lids and add more liquid, if necessary, to maintain 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the rims clean, center lids on the jars, and screw on jar bands. Process for 30 minutes, then remove and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place.

Adapted from Edouard Fontenot