Beet Pickles or Pickled Beets?

Beets are on of the few things pickled you are not sure what you are going to get.  It seems that bread and butter pickles, dill pickles and sweet pickles are all pretty universal in their flavor.   There may be subtle nuances that each family adds to the recipe, but you can depend on that basic flavor.   Beets on the other hand are pickled differently by every family and every company.   You never know what pickled beets on a salad bar might taste like.

Pickles made from cucumbers are always call variety pickles, pick your variety.  No one calls them pickles dill, no they are dill pickles.  Sweet pickles, 14 day pickles, lime pickles, kool-aid pickles.   I can’t think of a single cucumber based pickle that does not announce the variety before calling it a pickle.

Beets on the other hand can be called beet pickles or pickled beets.   I wonder why that is?   Does that freedom to refer to beets any way you want, also give folks who can the right to take huge creative liberties when canning beets?

I had not thought much about this until the Saturday when a friend gave me beet pickles.  I looked at the bright purple beets swimming in their bath of sugar, vinegar and spices.    We opened them tonight and had them with dinner, and found it full of whole cloves, beets, cinnamon and onions.   It had a wonderfully complex flavor but a 180 degree change from my mom’s.   Mom’s recipe is very simple sugar and vinegar, sort of sweet sour sort of thing no spices.  It has a strong beet flavor.    Though vastly different I sure enjoyed them.

4 comments on “Beet Pickles or Pickled Beets?

  1. I remember years ago when I first wanted to make pickled beets and started looking for a recipe and lordy what a variety: there were ones w/ brown sugar and some for white, some used cider vinegar and some called for white, and the variety of the spices was infinite, some added little onions and some added onion rings. Then there were the ones w/boughten canned beets that you drained and put a new pickling mix on and refrigerated – not bad. And some had you put your empty pickled beet juice over hard boiled eggs. Just depends on how you like it, I guess!

  2. Love them! But agree they do taste so different every place you eat them. I always have to have pickled beets off of the salad bar in restaurats as no longer make them for myself. I’ll have to say I still like mine best, which was my Mother’s recipe. Guess I could buy a jar of beets and make myself some sometime but just never do.

    • I agree with you Grandma’s recipe is best. I think I learned from her it came from Grandma Keeler. As her recipe is so easy. I often buy a can of sliced beets and make the “sauce” pour it over drained beets, let it sit for a couple weeks and I have a comfort food.

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