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Pickled Beets

Rule
Pickled beets are certainly not for everybody, but, this recipe, which is made sweet by a hint of brown sugar, might convert those who are on the fence.  Add a few star anise for a flavorful burst of licorice.

Makes 6 pints

Note: Baby, big, golden, red or chioggia beets work equally well here. Just make sure your beets are all about the same size and color for the best end product.

3 pounds beets
3 cups cider vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 cloves
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon chili flakes
3 star anise

Place washed, skin-on beets in the bottom of 6 quart or larger pot. Cover the beets with water by 2 inches, and bring them up to a boil. Boil, covered for 20 minutes. Check to see if they are done by sliding a knife into the center. The beet should give just a little resistance. If the they are not done, continue cooking just until they are. Drain off the water and set the beets aside to cool.Once they are cool enough to handle, peel and slice the beets into 1/2 inch rounds. Position the rounds in wide-mouth canning jars. If you have rounds that are too wide to fit, cut them into half-moons, or quarters, or whatever you have to do to get them in there.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive, 3 quart saucepan and bring it up to a boil. Carefully pour the brine over the beets, making sure the beets are completely submerged in the liquid. At this point you could refrigerate the beets for up to 3 months without processing in a hot water bath. If you’d like to store them at room temperature and keep them longer, follow the directions on (pg. 00) and process the jars for 5 minutes.