Snacks and sundries

Easy low-sugar pickled beets

By Sari Huhtala

Someone once told me they add 2 cups of sugar to their pickled beet recipe. What? Are they making beets or candy? Beets are a powerhouse, detox superfood, but it kind of defeats the purpose if you add so much sugar your immune system gets knocked down for hours every time you consume them.

Instead, I suggest you try my mother’s pickled beet recipe, just the way my grandmother preserved them on their old farming homestead.

Healthy, and oh so easy your kids can even pitch in to help.


Approximately 12 medium-size fresh beets, or about 24 small beets

Approximately 2 ½ cups white vinegar

4 tsp sugar (organic sugar if possible)

Boiled water (preferably filtered water)

4 500 ml canning jars

Sterilize jars and lids, and utensils.

Scrub beets clean, leaving skin on. Place whole beets in large pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil for approximately 45 minutes to one hour, or until tender enough that you are able to insert a fork, but not too soft. Avoid over cooking.

Once cooked, drain the hot water and run cold water to fill pot. This will make the skin on the beets peel off very easily. Gently peel skin from each beet, cutting off the root tip, and place in a clean bowl.

Bring a pot of filtered water to boil.

Add 1 tsp sugar into each jar.

Slice beets into a jar, or if using small beets leave whole, or cut into chunks. Fill jar with sliced beets. Pour boiled water into jar to fill jar half way. Then pour white vinegar into jar to completely fill the jar, ensuring beets are fully submerged. Tighten lid onto jar and turn jar upside down a few times, then leave on counter to cool.

If storing at room temperature, ensure the seal on the jar is intact to avoid spoilage, or store in refrigerator. Store in refrigerator if seal is broken (lid pops).

Beets will take about 10 to 14 days to become fully pickled.

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