Help, I need somebody

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.


Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me.

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh.

Ok I’ll stop.You no doubt get the message. I need some expert advice from all you amazing cooks especially if you are a Pickler – is there such a word? Well there is now. So my friendly Picklers what is your favourite recipe for Beetroot Pickles?

I made a batch last week – using the oh so delightfully sunshine coloured Golden Beetroot I’ve grown – a mix of vinegar and sugar with a handful of spices – a bay leaf, some mustard seeds and peppercorns. You get the picture. Did I measure anything exactly? No. I had looked recipes up on line and got what I thought was the gist of it all. How complicated can it be I thought?

Eating them yestertoday, told me there is more to this than meets the eye. They are too vinegary. So what went wrong? What do I need to add or do to make them much more moreish? Dilute the vinegar with water, or add more sugar. Use different spices? Roast them before hand or just simmer/boil in water. Slice them thickly? And I guess most importantly what vinegar?

As I contemplate on how pretty my Yellow Beetroot look in a jar, I am reminded of the expression  ‘looks can be deceiving’.

In the meantime I’m off to make a batch of Australian Market Beetroot Dip – perfect for tonight’s meal of breads and salads. Aahh that’s better, back on terra-ferma!

Looking forward to seeing your replies, tips and suggestions and of course road-testing your recipes


  • i like ours claire, but not sure which recipe we followed last time … will have a look tomorrow! your yellow beetroot looks wonderful 🙂

    • Thank you Christine, I’m pretty pleased with the beetroot this year, I think I managed to sow and plant them out at the right time – makes a change !!

  • At first I thought it was all the Beatles song 😛
    I can’t believe this beautiful looking pickles jar is deceiving!
    I wish I could give you some help but I have never made pickles 😛
    I’m sure some experts will comment soon!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Oh crumbs, when I bottle beetroot I only ever go by taste – more or less for every one cup of vinegar, half a cup of water and about half a cup of sugar, slat and pepper. I also bottle mine with raw onion slices. Sorry I cannot be of more help. I will make a concerted effort to measure next time around – not that that will be helpful then!
    🙂 Mandy

    • Brilliant Mandy, that gives me a better idea about proportions in terms of vinegar/water/sugar ! And I’m loving the idea of raw onions to give them a bit of a bite. I’ve seen recipes that use fresh horseradish, unfortunately I don’t grow it……
      Thanks for your help!

  • Are you planning on keeping them in the pantry for long-term storage, or just in the fridge for a few weeks while you eat them up?
    I’ve got a couple of recipes that could work for you, but let me know which you’re after…
    Oh, and you left out the little piece of cinnamon stick!

    • Ooops, forgot to mention that bit of the equation Marie. I tend to make refridgerator ones but as the beetroot crop is looking like a decent one this year I’m tempted to make some for storing so I can give them as gifts. Better hone up on my bottling techniques as I don’t want to kill off my friends and family!
      Loving the idea of cinnamon in there
      Any help woul dbe gratefully received Marie – thank you 🙂

          • Ok, found it. This brine will do about 3 pounds of beets, and you’ll want to cook them first, and then cut them into chunks.
            2 cups vinegar
            1 cup water
            1/2 cup sugar
            1 tsp. whole allspice
            6 whole cloves
            3 inches of stick cinnamon
            Put the spices into a muslin square, and tie them up.
            Put the vinegar, water, and sugar in a saucepan, add the spice bag, and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer (uncovered) for 5 minutes. Pack your cut-up beets into clean half-pint jars and pour the brine over them, leaving about a half-inch between the top of your jar and the brine. Proccess them in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes (start timing after the water comes back to a boil).
            Hope that helps!

  • We don’t measure when we make short-term pickled beets either, Claire, and we don’t make long-term properly canned ones. I thought that might be the Beatles’ song when I saw the title. Good luck.

    • It was a bit of a corny title, but it was the best I could come up with ! We keep seeing and hearing about Paul McCartney at the Olympics so I think it’s premeated my thick skull. And thanks for popping in Sharyn 🙂

  • Visiting with my son the other day, we had a long conversation about beets, inspired by you and that recipe with goat cheese which I still haven’t tried but is hovering at all times on the edge of my consciousness ….. 🙂

  • Hi Claire, I just pickle beets for the day I’m using them and use rice wine or sherry vinegar depending on what color beet I’m using. For canning, I do know that the vinegar needs to be diluted. I’m sure someone will give you their tried and true recipe. It is a shame that looks can be deceiving because they look delicious.

    • Thank you Karen, I like the idea of just making them for the day you want to eat them – using ingredients when they are at their freshest and best. I have rice wine and white wine vinegar so I’ll have a play with those. Thanks again !

  • Claire, Any time I make pickles or pickled anything, You should wait 2-3 weeks before eating it so flavors can mingle. Maybe this would make a difference? They look wonderful!

  • Hmm, i was excited because i want to bottle some too, but no recipes so far. I will do some this week with what i remember of the mama recipe and get back.. I don’t have a bumper crop but i have enough for a few jars! And there is just so much room in my fridge!.. c

    • Fab, I’ll look out for those, and phew for your mama and her pickles 🙂 Marie is also on the case for me which is so kind considering how busy she is. This is turning into a real collective effort 🙂

  • I’d use just over a pound of sugar to a litre of vinegar, and then I’d add some bay leaves, some cloves, some peppercorns and a pinch of salt. (I’m a granny-cook; I don’t really do “measures”…) I do know it takes an awful lot more sugar than you think! (And this is for a traditional Danish pickled red beetroot, often served on top of open-faced rye bread sandwiches with liver pork pâté or as a condiment to pan-fried potatoes with a fried egg. (Or, indeed, to any other kind of dish during winter.)

      • Thank you! The sugar conent is far higher than I realised, much appreciated. And now I’m looking forwar dto eating them Danish style with pan fried potatoes and a fried agg – that sounds seriously good !!

          • he, he, he…. I do try VERY HARD to avoid them, but life does seems unfair the older you get the longe it takes to recover from enjoying yourself!

          • At 33 it seems I take twice as long as I did at 23… AT LEAST! As often as not, an over-consumption of alcohol will expose me a) to a hangover and b) to a reduced immune system which will cause me to come down with a lurgy for half a week afterwards… Rather pathetic, I think!

  • I don’t pickle at all let alone beet root but your bottle does look beautiful. Hope you get some good advice. 🙂

    • It is so pretty isn’t it – I’m picturing eating sunshine beetroot in winter. It looks like there are some great recipes to be followed now. Pleased I asked !

  • I love pickled beets (we just call them beets in Canada) and put some up every year. So if you’re looking to can, here’s how I do it and imho, my pickled beets are the best! Did I mention how humble I am?
    You’ll need five lbs of beets. In all honesty, I just kinda wing this part. So once you’ve cooked, peeled and sliced your beets. You need to make a syrup of 2 cups of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. 2 cups of water. 2 cups of sugar, one lemon thinly sliced (don’t leave out the lemon, it’s the secret ingredient) and 1/2 tsp salt. Plus one tbs of mixed pickling spice in a muslin bag. Bring syrup to a boil and boil for five minutes. Add cooked, prepared beets and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lemon slices and spice bag.
    Pack beets in hot pint or quart jars ( I keep mine hot in the oven at around 200 degrees while I’m preparing the syrup). Pour hot syrup over beets bringing the liquid close to the top with about 1/4 inch of head space. Put on lids and screw bands , tighten and let cool. I leave mine alone for a good month before eating.

    I have never seen or even heard of yellow beets. If I lived nearby i would have offered to bring my recipe over, in person, in exchange for a few of your yellow beets. Aren’t you glad I live far away? Enjoy.

  • Here’s a recipe: 2 lbs red beets, 2 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp pickling salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 (2-inch piece) of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced. They simmered the beets in water until tender.Drain and rinse, rub skins off. Cut into wedges. Then combine the brine ingredients and bring to a boil. I think you make sure a few slices of ginger get into each jar when you pour. Probably discard the cinnamon stick.. I’ve not made this, but it’s in a book I have!!
    Hope this helps:D xx

    • Hi Stacey, the colour is gorgeous isn’t it – almost an orange-yellow. For now I’ll let them sit in the fridge and just look at them 🙂

  • Sorry, Claire, but I’ve no help for you. I am completely clueless and am eagerly awaiting the recipes others have promised. I’m sure you’ll find one to suit your tastes, if you haven’t already.

    • Hi John, the recipes are coming in thick and fast! I can see I’m going to have to make a few different ones so I can try them ALL out 🙂

  • Claire, we make a roasted beetroot dip too, with a little hazelnut oil and Moroccan inspired spices. But just last week, I had the best beetroot I’d ever eaten – it was peeled, thinly sliced, and then simply roasted with salt and oil. It was seriously divine. I’ve never tried pickling them before!

    • Hi Celia, the dip sounds delicious! But what an interesting way to have the beetroot – sliced and peeled before roasting, so unusual !

  • The comments are great. I’ll be making the beetroot dip, as it sounds very “do-able” and good. But I would be at a complete loss on the others, however, I think you appealed to the right crowd! There are problem-solvers in the midst, no doubt! 🙂 Smidge and the cinnamon stick sounded promising to me! Debra

    • The dip is seriously do-able Debra. I thought I would have some leftover for today (I made some last night) but no it was all scarfed !!
      You know I’m so pleased I asked, I dithered and wondered whether it was ok to do that, and then I thought – it’s my blog, and I can ask my blogging buddies for help. and sure enough it’s come good. I just need to get pints and pints of vinegar and bags of sugar at the ready now 🙂 Hope you have a super week !

  • Hello Claire
    I will give you my mum’s recipe. She usually cuts the beets and sprinkles them with a little salt and sets them aside for 15 minutes
    for the brine you need
    3 cups water
    1/4 cup vinegar
    2 tablespoons salt
    Add whatever spices and seasonings you like
    I hope this helps.
    Oh and it takes about 2 weeks to be ready

    • Ah, a mum’s recipe now that’s a treat. I haven’t heard of sprinking them with salt befor ehand so will have to give this a try. And thank you so much for sharing, it really does help !

  • I cannot believe this! Neither of my go to books has a recipe for pickled beetroot! I hope you find something that works 🙂

    • Hi Tandy, thanks for taking the time and looking !! It seems I now have lots of great recipes to try, I can see that I’m going to have to go and get a bulk load of vinegar 🙂

  • Too bad you weren’t happy with the finished product because the beets look beautiful. I have zero experience putting up veggies.

    • It’s very much a learning curve for me, I can freeze things like peas and bean ok, an dmake the odd cutney but pickles I’m very much learning on the go ! It woul dbe lovely to get them right as they are such a burst of sunshine!

  • I’m totally inept with making *actual* preserves of any kind, so I completely rely on quick pickles and minute jam and suchlike! Oops, sorry. Not very helpful, am I!!! 😉

    • Maybe that’s what I should try Kathryn, quick pickles sound delicious !! So maybe not a direct help, but you’ve planted a “seed” 🙂

  • I was thinking Mellow Yellow, but maybe Yellow Sub‘merge’arine is more appropriate! Looks delicious. 🙂

  • I’ve read a fair number of these comments – a lot of good advice. But for me, I’m not such a fan of vinegar, and like my beetroot un salted and UN-vinigared. Just wondering if anyone has tried freezing them?

    I’m guessing they’d be best boiled and peeled then frozen in chunks, ready for heating and eating?

    Sometimes I boil beets and then skin them, shake them in oil and plenty of black pepper, then roast them for a lttle while to serve with a Sunday joint. Yum.

  • My mom does this recipe with red beets and she dilutes it with water (don’t know the ratio but I am sure she adds more water than rice vinegar) She also adds red onions and that gives it a great touch!

  • Hi Claire….I’m weighing in very late on this as was out of Internet range for a while. And my opinion anyway is worth nearly as much as you might pay for it. 🙂 Am wondering about using a white balsamic as your vinegar…or at least a good portion of it. Or maybe apple cider vinegar? My apologies if this is redundant (or worthless!) 😀

      • 🙂 I like your idea o fbalsamic vinegar – it’s slightly sweeter, but I’m thinking that woul db egoo dfor fresh pickles, to be eaten on the day. In fact that might happen today as it sound sso good !! There, how much do I owe 😉

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