Pickled Beets


I pickled these beautiful beets two ways in Spring this year – red beets with cloves and star anise and yellow beets with nigella seeds and red pepper flakes. Both had a good amount of crushed poppy seeds which I add when pickling. Easy to do and so delicious!

One thing to keep in mind is that the brine will go through a slimy, viscous phase which is quite unsightly but natural as there is so much sugar in beets. The consistency will resolve itself if given enough time to ferment and kept in a warm place. A way around this process is a quick brine. The beets are allowed to cool slightly and placed in the fridge overnight and then the liquid is drained. The beets will be crunchier and milder in taste.

Also, due to the natural sugars in beets mentioned earlier, I don’t add additional sugar (as most recipes do). I like to stay with the savory, sour heat while letting the beets do the sweet talk.

Red ingredients:

  • 6-7 medium beets
  • half cup white vinegar
  • half teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • half cup poppy seeds, crushed

Yellow ingredients:

  • 6-7 medium beets
  • half cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and skin removed
  • half cup crushed red pepper
  • half cup nigella seeds
  • half cup poppy seeds, crushed


  • Rinse beets thoroughly and cover with cold water in a medium pan.
  • Gently bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes or so till tender.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water. Cool slightly and remove skin by gently pushing on it. It should almost slide off.
  • Thinly slice and place in a bowl.


  • Combine vinegar, salt and 2 tbsp. water in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and add all the other ingredients (except beets and garlic) and stir for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool down.
  • At this point you can test salt and adjust according to taste.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over beets (and garlic if using) and cover. Garlic changes color when it is blanched. This doesn’t affect the flavor but gives it a greenish hue which is not always desirable. In order to avoid, ensure that the liquid isn’t too hot when pouring.
  • Transfer to a sanitized jar and seal.

If you are doing the fermentation process, then place in area with temperature above 50 degrees. Keep checking the consistency till it loses the viscosity (around a week to 10 days). Otherwise, transfer to the fridge. Remove the next day, drain liquid and enjoy!

Ways to eat:

As a side dish, added to salads, atop burgers or sandwiches, topped with hummus or pate. They are good to stay in the fridge for about a month and much longer if fermented. A perfect pop of color and full of sweet, salty, tangy yumminess!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Seemin Zaidi says:

    Will definitely try the Beets. Sounds so yummy! Love your recipes.


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