Beetroot, informally shortened to beet, is a deep-red root vegetable often used in soups, stews, salads and pastas. It tastes sugary with a mild tartness, similar to a combination of sweet carrots and fresh spinach. Pickle beetroot in malt vinegar to enhance its flavor and preserve it for later use.
Preparing the Canning Equipment
You must sterilize all pieces of the canning equipment for successful pickling. Bring a large, clean pot of water to a boil and submerge enough canning jars to hold all the beetroot. Boil the jars and their screw tops for five minutes. Carefully transfer them to clean towels with a pair of jar grippers to dry and cool.
Preparing the Beetroot
When preparing the beetroot, take care not to pierce its skin so the red juice does not leak out. Scrub thoroughly to remove dirt from the exterior. Place the scrubbed beetroot in a large pot of boiling water. Add 2 tablespoons of malt vinegar to the water to help the beetroot retain color. Reduce the heat to medium-low and boil the beetroot for 90 minutes. Remove the beetroot and allow it to dry for 30 minutes. Peel away the skin and then slice the cooled beetroot whatever way you prefer. Pack the slices into the sterile canning jars, leaving 1 inch of space at the tops.
Preparing the Malt Vinegar
Pour the malt vinegar into a large pot and place it over high heat. Add 2 ounces of whole peppercorns and 2 ounces of whole allspice per gallon of vinegar. For a personalized flavor, add your favorite sweet spices. Whole cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves work well. For sweeter pickled beetroot, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Boil the malt vinegar for 10 minutes. Leave the malt vinegar over medium-low heat until you are ready to use it, for no longer than 10 minutes to prevent evaporation.
Pickling the Beetroot
Pour 2 inches of water into a clean pot and bring it to a boil. Place the lids for each sterilized jar in the water and boil them for three minutes. Pour the hot vinegar over the beetroot, filling the jars 1/4 inch from the top. Slide a knife into each jar to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean towel to remove juices or vinegar. Use a pair of tongs or a lid magnet to carefully extract one lid from the water and transfer it to the top of a filled jar. Repeat the process until all jars have lids. Secure the screw tops on the jars and place them 1 inch apart on a countertop to cool for two hours. Test the lids by pressing down on their centers. If the lid makes a popping sound, it did not seal properly. Place these jars in the refrigerator and use them within two weeks. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dry place and use them within two years for the best quality. Refrigerate after opening.