Pickled Beets



makes about 6 pints

3 quarts beets (about 24 small beets)
2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 1/2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water

Wash beets and drain. Boil beets in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 or 3 inches. Bring to a low boil and cook until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the beets. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Skins will slip off cooked beets easily. Pinch the beets with a little pressure and pull the skins away. Use a small paring knife to cut away any stubborn bits or damaged spots. Red beets will stain everything they touch, including your hands, so wear gloves, unless you like pink hands. Slice with a mandolin slicer, or with a knife or just quarter them. Tastes all the same which ever way you choose.
Combine the sugar, cinnamon sticks, allspice, salt, vinegar and water in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. Pack sliced beets into clean, hot jars, arranging them snuggly but with enough room for brine to circulate.

Ladle hot liquid over beets, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 30 minutes in boiling water. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.