Pickled beets are a great way to change up the flavor of your beets as well as preserve them. This works quite similarly to the process you might see for pickled okra or pickled cucumbers (commonly referred to as pickles) – or really pickled anything for that matter.
The term pickled simply refers to a process that is completed in a preservation method but the process of pickling also changes the overall flavor of the ingredient somewhat. Bring in pickled beets, and you have a delicious way to alter the vegetable and store it away long-term.
Now, you might be thinking that when food is pickled, it is typically then canned. After all, most things you purchase pickled come in jars or cans that have gone through the canning process.
But, can you freeze pickled beets? Do you have to can those foods or can you bypass the canning process and just freeze them?
While canning might be the most common method, possibly even the preferred method, you can freeze your pickled beets. All it takes is putting your pickled beets in a freezer-safe container, adding the brine, and placing it in the freezer. Easy!
We have put together a guide to give you some insight into the pickling process for beets and walk you through how you can freeze pickled beets. We will let you in on all of the tips you need to know to be able to freeze them successfully if that is your desired means of storage.
Keep reading to learn everything you should know about freezing pickled beets, and more.
A Guide to Pickled Beets – And How to Freeze Them
Pickled beets are primarily simple to make. There is not a lot of prep that goes into the process, but it does take a bit of time to pickle any type of vegetable and therefore you should set aside plenty of time to work through the process.
Also, if you know anything about beets you are aware that they are a deep red or purple in color and they can stain. We recommend that you prepare for this before you start the process.
Wear old clothing or protect your clothing well and you might even want to wear some gloves to protect your fingers from staining.
Additionally, tools you use for the process could stain as well. If you are keeping towels nearby, be prepared for potential staining and be mindful of what utensils you use through your pickling process and whether they might be affected by staining too.
How Pickled Beets Are Made
In order to understand how you might be able to store your pickled beets, we think it’s important that you understand the pickled beets process in order to be able to complete your process most successfully.
Pickling is simply the name for the process, and it changes the vegetable in the end. Additionally, pickling is a preservation method that is typically used in canning processes but it is ok to pickle your items and then freeze them.
In the case of pickling beets, you use ingredients that sweeten and preserve them. Here are the things usually found in recipes for pickling beets. There are 2 lists here – one for sweet beets or one for a simple pickling process.
- Ground cloves
- Bay Leaves
The common factor in these is sugar and vinegar. Both of these are preserving tools. The other differences are primarily for flavoring. It is also not uncommon to simply use a pre-made pickling seasoning packet. You can do whatever works for you as far as tastes.
Here are the pickling steps:
- Rinse your beets and scrub well to remove dirt from them.
- Start by boiling beets. Cover them with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Rinse beets in cold water and allow to cool slightly.
- You should be able to trim off stems and tails and then rub or peel off the skins.
- Slice the beets to your desired thickness.
- Prepare your pickling ingredients by combining sugar and vinegar in a saucepan and bringing it to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and remove from the heat.
- Then add other seasoning ingredients and stir well.
- Pour this mixture over your cool beets in a mixing bowl like this one. Cover the beets and pickling juice and chill.
- You should chill for several days, but no less than 24 hours to allow the beets to absorb the pickling juice. You can stir them once a day.
Once you have completed the pickling process, you can then proceed to freeze your beets. If you were canning your beets, you would simply place the sliced beets in jars and pour the pickling brine over them. You could then proceed to water-bath can them and be done.
But let’s be real – not all of us like canning items so the freezer makes a great alternative.
How to Freeze Pickled Beets
Freezing your pickled beets is so easy anyone can do it. We recommend freezing them in gallon freezer bags or using some form of small individual containers that will hold up well in the freezer.
Don’t discard your pickling brine as you will want to freeze some of that with the beets. Also, since you are freezing your pickled beets, you don’t need to store them in the fridge for 2 and 3 weeks. Let them soak a day or two and then move on.
Here are the steps to freezing pickled beets:
- Spoon beets into your freezer storage container of choice, making sure to also spoon in some of the pickling brine. Leave about ½ to 1 inch of space at the top.
- Seal, date, and label.
- Place in the freezer for up to 12 months.
Did you see how simple that was? It is quite easy to accomplish and there are no challenging steps or precautions you have to take in order to effectively freeze pickled beets.
How to Use Frozen Pickled Beets
Are you ready to be pleasantly surprised? Using pickled beets after you have frozen them is relatively simple.
Let’s keep in mind that you most likely pickled them because you like the pickled flavor and you probably aren’t mixing them into a standard beet recipe.
Here are some steps to using your pickled beets after they have been frozen.
- Remove from freezer. If you are cooking with your beets, proceed to step 2. However, if you intend to simply use them chilled, you can proceed to step 3.
- Allow beets to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. If they are in a Ziploc bag you may want to set the bag in a bowl. When beets are thawed, drain them well and proceed to cooking.
- Allow beets to thaw or defrost either in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a couple of hours.
- If you plan to simply use the beets as they are, you can now proceed to eating them.
- You may want to transfer beets to a storage bowl or container so you can store them in the fridge until you finish them.
- Ideally, pickled beets will last up to 2 months after freezing and defrosting if they are stored properly in the fridge.
See? Easy peasy! There are no complicated processes and you can enjoy those beets for plenty of months to come. Don’t worry about your beets going bad, those preservation juices will last for a long time to come and your pickled beets will be delicious when you use them.
So if you aren’t a fan of the canning process or simply want another option, don’t be afraid to give this one a try.
We hope that you have found this guide to be a great resource for your endeavor into freezing pickled beets.
We have compiled a question-and-answer section that you might find some additional information and we invite you to take a look to see if there is anything helpful to you.
Does Vinegar Make the Beets Unhealthy?
Vinegar is primarily used for the pickling process but it does not negatively affect the beets or their nutritional values. Beets are relatively high in carbohydrates and this is with or without the vinegar.
When beets are pickled, they remain low in calories and they don’t hold much protein content. They do still contain Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate.
Can You Pickle Beets After They Were Frozen Raw?
Yes! You will want to allow the beets some time to thaw out but chances are when you froze them you removed the stems and skins and even sliced them so you can simply proceed with the pickling process.
Can There Be Negative Side Effects to Eating Beets?
Beets are healthy and safe for consumption. They are not meant to be eaten in excessive amounts. You might notice your stool or urine having a pink or red tint. Additionally, if consumed in hefty amounts, you could experience low calcium or even kidney damage.