Pickled beetroots for the Christmas table

Beetroots after boiling, Swedish pickled beetroots

Beetroot’s natural rich vibrant burgundy color adds festive culinary cheer to the Christmas table.
Photo Jan-Erik Nilsson and Cheryl Marie Cordeiro for CMC © 2009

Christmas is typically one such time of the year when you risk letting your general enthusiasm go completely overboard and you start looking into age-old things that more sensible relatives gave up decades ago – like making your own pickled beetroots. It was Asta, my Swedish mother-in-law, who used to make this, so how we’re doing it here is as she used to do it. The entire project takes just about a few minutes once the beets are boiled.

Beetroots are usually at their best straight from the garden soil, and are glorious during the summer. But if you can’t have them all in summer, they do store reasonably well. During the winter you just cook them a bit longer to get them done. To pickle winter beetroots, brush clean and cook under lid in slow heat for one hour. Don’t cut away stems and root tips since we don’t want the beet to bleed too much of its color. It’s their natural rich vibrant burgundy that adds festive culinary cheer to the table!

Swedish pickled beetroots

Pour the hot pickling dressing over the beets and let it soak overnight.

After one hour, check if soft and if done let the boiled beets rest in cold water for a while. After this you can peel the beets with your fingers and the peel will slip right off. Tidy up the beets, put in a pot, mix a pickle dressing with 1 liter of water, 1,5 cup of white vinegar and 3 dl of sugar and a dash of cloves. Put on the heat and bring it to a boil, then pour over the beetroots. Let the pot cool under lid over the night.

Swedish pickled beetroots in jar

Next morning when cold, transfer the beets to a clean jar and pour as much of the pickling dressing over the beets as it fits.

Now the beetroots are ready to eat. Kept cold and dark the beets will store if not indefinitely, and at least as well as anything you buy from the store. Of course making your own will often taste better, and you will know what’s in it, with no artificial colours or flavour enhancers.

This is another homemade item for us this year at our Christmas table. Fun and easy as … pickled beetroots!

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