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The freshness and newness of the beetroot is important when pickling beetroot. Pickled beetroot can be very flavorful if sufficient time is allowed for it to mature in the jars. Pickling beetroot can be done in large batches to save time, as it keeps well if stored correctly. Experimenting with spices and other ingredients when pickling beetroot helps the cook determine the best recipe for their taste preferences.
Pickled beetroot can taste like fresh beetroot if the pickling process is performed correctly. Use any size of beetroot. Halve, quarter, or slice them, but ensure that the beetroot pieces are all of a uniform size. The taste of fresh, light and crisp beetroot is preferable to older beets. 7 pounds (3.17 kg) of beetroot makes about 8 pints (3.78 liters) of pickle.
Clean and scrub the beetroots in clean water and cut off their tops, leaving about an inch (2.54 cm) of root and stem. This minimizes color bleeding during the boiling process. Lightly salt the water prior to boiling to remove the right amount of moisture from the beetroot; this makes them better able to absorb the pickling solution.
Boil the beetroot for 30 to 45 minutes to ensure they still retain some firmness, or cook for 10 to 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. Keep checking the beets with a spoon by pressing down on them, but be careful not pierce the skins or an excess amount of juice may escape. Remove the beetroot from the boiling water and drain them well to avoid diluting the pickling solution.
Use spices such as a cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns or coriander when pickling beetroot. Experiment with other ingredients such as white sugar for sweetness, or a handful of chopped onions for texture and flavor. Put whole spices into a cheesecloth or muslin bag before cooking them in the pickling solution so that they can be removed before canning. Malt vinegar is a good choice for pickling solution but brine can also be used. Follow the recipe accurately and limit the amount of vinegar you use, as too much vinegar can make the solution too strong or bleach the beetroot.
Sterilize glass jars before pickling beetroot by washing them in a dishwasher or boiling them for 10 minutes. Completely cover the beetroot with pickling solution. Leave half an inch of space above the pickled beetroot in the jar, so that the mixture can expand. Put the tightly sealed jars in a cool dark place for as long as possible, preferably a few weeks, so that flavors can infuse throughout the jars. Shake the jars every week to help the flavors to mix.
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