Maybe your only knowledge of pickled beets are the ones grandma served, but we're here to tell you quick-pickling thick wedges of sweet beets could not be simpler — or more delicious. These easy refrigerator pickles are as vibrantly flavored as they are colored, seasoned with freshly squeezed orange juice and a hint of bitterness from citrus rind.
Here's how to pull them off and use them on everything from salads to sandwiches.
Beet Pickles Are Easy Pickles
With no canning kettle needed or bushel of beets to process, refrigerator pickles are the easy and approachable way to preserve the season's finest produce. Quick pickles are not heat-processed and cannot be stored in the pantry, but they can be stashed in the fridge for a few weeks (or even up to a couple of months).
Making only a jar or two at a time with the small bunches of beets I picked up from the market means I am free to experiment with different flavorings and vinegars — my favorite combo to date is beets, mustard seed, and orange.
Prepping Beets for Quick Pickling
Before you can quick-pickle beets, you'll need to roast them. The beets' sweetness intensifies in the oven's heat, and roasting makes removing the peel a cinch (all you need is a paper towel!). Soft roasted beet wedges also absorb the pickling liquid more easily than crunchy raw beets.
The bunch of beets tied together at the grocery store usually weighs just over a pound. With the beet greens trimmed and saved for salads and sautés, you're left with one pound of beets for roasting and pickling.
Cut your beets into wedges if you're planning on using them to add visual variety to salads and grain bowls. But if you'll be serving them on sandwiches and burgers, slice them instead.
Using Your Pickled Beets
Pickled beets are a classic topping for leafy green salads dressed with crumbles of fresh cheese, and easy to serve alongside brisket and pulled pork. But I usually just fish them out of the jar with my fingers, risking rose-hued digits for the rest of the day.