Pickled Beets
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
June 14, 2024 ·  3 min read

Health Benefits of Pickled Beets (Recipe Included)

You can pickle practically any kind of fruit or vegetable. Of course, the most popular kind is pickled cucumbers, appropriately called pickles. Many people may have also tried pickled cabbage, eggs, fennel, carrots, onions, radishes, and more. Perhaps the most underrated is pickled beets. Made right, they are absolutely delicious and packed with nutrients and potential health benefits.

Health Benefits of Fresh Beets

Fermented beet kvass in two glass jars
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Beets are already healthy, but pickled versions contain some extra benefits. But let’s begin with fresh beets. They are rich in nutrients like copper, folate, and manganese, which can help boost energy levels, maintain the immune system, and regulate tissue and bone health. (Bear in mind, pickling them does slightly reduce the amount of nutrients.) Additionally, beets are full of flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants that help the body fight off disease. However, pickling them reduces antioxidant levels, so keep that in mind when deciding the best way to consume this superfood. 

Read More: 6 Health Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

Health Benefits of Pickled Beets

Fresh organic beet, beetroot. Grey rustic wooden background. Close up.
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Meanwhile, pickled beets made with raw, unpasteurized vinegar or through fermentation contain a bacteria called probiotics. Research shows that probiotics can aid better immune function, heart health, and digestion. Probiotics can also fight harmful bacteria in the gut, which can alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders like bloating, gas, and constipation. Additionally, pickled beets contain nitrates, which the body uses to help blood vessels dilate, a mechanism that can prevent high blood pressure, for a few hours. 

Potential Negative Effects

Colorful rainbow beets. Golden, white, pink striped and purple beets on the open air. Organic vegetables.
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Certain kinds of store-bought pickled beets may contain high amounts of salt and added sugars. Consuming too much of either of these ingredients have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other health conditions. Additionally, beets contain high amounts of oxalates, and people predisposed to kidney stones are often recommended to avoid them. Also, consuming beets can dye urine pink or red, but don’t worry, this is a harmless side effect.

Pickled Beets Recipe: Ingredients

Pickled Beet on rustic wooden background
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  • 10 pounds fresh small beets, stems removed
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 1 quart raw, unpasteurized vinegar or white vinegar
  • ¼ cup whole cloves, or as needed

Read More: Epsom Salt Uses, Health Benefits, And More

Pickled Beets Recipe: Instructions

Homemade spicy caviar from beets, carrots, onions and garlic in two jars and bowl on light gray background
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  1. Place beets in a large stockpot with enough water to cover them. (If the beets are large, cut them into quarters.) Bring the bot to a boil, and cook until the beets are tender, for about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, check 10 pint-sized jars. They should have no cracks or rust. Take new, unused lids and rings, and wash them in warm soapy water.
  3. Drain the beets, but keep 2 cups of beet water and set aside. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and dispose of the skins.
  4. Fill each sterile jar with beets.  Divide the cloves among the jars.
  5. Combine the sugar, 2 cups of the beet water, vinegar, and pickling salt in a large saucepan to make the brine; bring to a rapid boil.
  6. White still hot, pour the hot brine over the beets in the jars, and seal the lids.
  7. Place a rack on the bottom of a pot large enough to hold the jars and fill it halfway with water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into it using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. 
  8. Add more boiling water if needed until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes.

For more tips, see the original recipe by Sharon Howard on AllRecipes

Recipe Ideas and Storage

canning of beets,home canning of red beets for the winter
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These beets are shelf-stable when sealed and therefore do not need to be refrigerated. They can be stored for up to a year. Once opened, the beets will stay good for about three to four days in the fridge.

Pickled beets can replace fresh beets in recipes like salads and side dishes. Their bright magenta color can garnish all sorts of foods but they can also be enjoyed on their own or with a sprinkling of feta cheese. They also pair well with hard-boiled eggs and coleslaw. 

Read More: 7 Health Benefits of Planks

Sources

  1. “Are Pickled Beets Good for You?Healthline. Alina Petre, MS, RD (NL). May 19, 2020
  2. “Health Benefits of Pickled Beets.WebMD. Christine Mikstas, RD, LD. September 1, 2022