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Spiced Pickled Beets


Pickling was popular during World War II and was considered patriotic for its frugality. Whole pickling spices, bay leaves, white wine, and sugar give these red and golden beets a bright, sweet, relish-like flavor.

  • Yield: Makes 2 quarts
spice pickled beets

Photography: Ellie Miller

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July 2005


  • 5 medium red beets and 5 golden beets, stems trimmed (2 pounds total with greens)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, flakes
  • 4 or 5 fresh bay leaves (or 6 dried)
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Put red beets in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Repeat with golden beets in another medium saucepan. Cover each, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until beets are tender, about 30 minutes. Keeping beets separate, drain, and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel beets; cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Transfer to separate nonreactive containers.

  2. Stir together the spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle beets with the spice mixture and the bay leaves, dividing evenly.

  3. Stir together vinegar, wine, 1 1/4 cups water, the sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Immediately pour brine over beets, dividing evenly. Let cool completely. Cover each container, and refrigerate 7 to 10 hours. Serve cold or at room temperature. Pickled beets can be refrigerated, covered, up to 3 weeks. Transfer to smaller containers to store, if desired.

Reviews Add a comment

  • TrinityCooks
    16 OCT, 2010
    I don't see why you couldn't use this recipe for canning. Instead of cooling the beets after covering them with the brine, transfer them to your canning jars and throw 'em in a water bath for 10 minutes. Looks really good. Anyone do this recipe? How did it turn out?
  • apgarcold
    16 AUG, 2010
    Can I use this recipe for canning beets?
  • alexis0012
    1 JUL, 2010
    Can you omit the sugar when pickling?
  • tjander
    11 SEP, 2008
    Pulled out my Better Homes