For years, I had seen my Grandmother pull beets from her garden. Cook them long enough in boiling water to make the skin easy to rub off. Set the beets aside to cool and mix sugar and vinegar in a large pot.
As the story goes Grandmother was taught how to pickle beets by her Grandmother who was taught by her Grandmother. So, that takes us back to about 1877. If the bible records are right.
Today, I pickle beets for our store, Yesteryear Country Store. We never have enough so we take orders year round. I use Grandmother's recipe and here it is:
Use canned whole beets unless you have grown some. Have sugar and vinegar on hand, plus clean quart jars that have been in boiling water for 10 minutes or more. Now, for our store, we process our beets for 29 minutes in a steam canner. But, you can make your pickled beets whenever you want them or make three or four jars at a time storing them in your refrigerator unopened for three or four weeks.
To make you will need:
5 cans of beets to make 2-quart jars of pickled beets.
3 cups white sugar.
3 cups white vinegar.
Dran beets and set aside. Mix sugar and vinegar in a glass or stainless steel pot. Bring mixture to a slow boil. Stir the mixture until you feel a slight thicken resistance to the spoon. Put beets into the jars and pour the mixture over them. Add lids. Let cool and refrigerator over-night before serving.
If you want to add whole onions to your beets - use small or about the same size onions.
Peel and add the onions to the mixture just before the mixture starts to thicken. Repeat the above steps. You will, however, need more jars.
If you are not adding onions to your jars and use only beets you can save the jar juice to make pickled eggs. Just, add boiled eggs to the juice and let them sit in the refrigerator. It will take about 3 days for the eggs to pickle.