Erkki Valto's Pickled Beets

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Skill Level
Preparation Time 10 minutes Total Time 60 minutes
Servings 20 Cost Per Serving $0.17
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2 kgBeets
1 LWater
1 LVinegar (white or apple cider)
1/2 cupSugar
1/4 cupHorseradish (fresh or jarred, but not creamed)
6 - 8Whole cloves
2 tbspOther spices of your choice (mustard seed, celery seed, allspice, corriander, bay leaves, black peppercorns, chili flakes) (optional)
1 tspKosher salt


  1. ​Wash beets well.
  2. Cook beets, either by boiling or roasting. If boiling, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your beets. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until just tender, about 30 minutes. If roasting, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap your beets in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and then roast for about 45 minutes. 
  3. While the beets are cooking, prepare your pickling brine. Add the water, vinegar, sugar and spices into a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Once your beets are cooked, peel them and slice them into ¼ inch thick pieces. Add the beets and the horseradish to a sterilized jar. Carefully cover to the top with the brine, leaving about a ½ inch of space from the top. Allow to cool, and then seal and refrigerate. Allow the beets to pickle for at least one week before serving for maximum briny flavour. 
  5. The beets will last about 2 months in the refrigerator. To learn more about long-term preservation, visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.


​Two great reasons to pickle your own beets:

  1. Beets are rich in betalains, a powerful antioxidant. Betalains are easily destroyed by heat. Commercial canned or jarred beets are pasteurized (treated at extremely high heat), destroying most of the betalains. Cooking the beets by roasting or boiling uses a much lower temperature than pasteurization, preserving more of the betalains.
  2. Canned beets are high in sodium. If you do use canned beets, rinse the salt off to reduce sodium by up to 40%.