Beet lovers, raise your hands! I’ve never met a beet recipe I didn’t like. But I have met some I liked more than others, and this one is an all-time favorite. I can batches in the summer when my favorite farmers at the local market have an abundance of beets.
Dotted with spices and plump raisins, it’s a cross between pickled beets and an English-style chutney (the sweet-tart goopy kind). Fantastic with cheese plates, it’s also excellent tossed with green salads or spooned over the kind of grown-up sandwiches (open-faced braunschweiger or liverwurst) I turned my nose up at when I was a kid.
If pickled beets are your thing, try this beet chutney. Since the beets are diced into small cubes, it’s easy to dole out with a spoon; you’ll soon find it becoming one of your favorite condiments.
Can This Recipe…or Don’t
My preference is to water-bath can my beet chutney so I have a reserve that’s handy all year long–it’s surprising how a little bit can spruce up a blah dinner with its earthy-sweet tang and beety color. I also have a regular roster of fellow Beet Believers who love getting jars as gifts.
Canning is not your thing? You can still make this recipe. Jars that are not water-bath canned will keep in the refrigerator for a few months, perhaps even longer.
Beet Chutney Swaps and Substitutions
- Sugar: I don’t recommend reducing the sugar or swapping it out with another sweetener since it may make it unsafe for water-bath canning. Also, I like the way the neutrally sweet white sugar lets the spices and beets do the talking. If you’d like a low-sugar pickled beet recipe, try this one (which is not made for canning).
- Vinegar: If you use another vinegar besides apple cider vinegar, make sure it’s 5% acidity (it should say on the label somewhere). I’ve always used good ol’ ACV because I like the slight cider character it adds.
- Mustard: I call for prepared whole-grain mustard, an unusual ingredient in pickles and chutneys where you’d normally see whole mustard seeds. My preference is for the whole-grain prepared mustard because it’s more complex, but you can substitute 1 tablespoon of whole yellow or black mustard seeds. I’d steer clear of ground, prepared mustard like Dijon. My favorite whole-grain mustard is Maille.
- Shallot: Not everyone has shallots handy. I wish I did–they’re far more expensive than onions, but I love their flavor. For this recipe, I splurge on the spendy little shallot because life is short. You can finely mince 1/4 to 1/2 of a red, white, or yellow onion and use that instead.
- Raisins: Not a fan of raisins? Leave them out. I prefer golden raisins in this, but dark ones will work just fine.
More Beet Recipes That Can’t Be Beat
You may double this recipe, but the chutney’s cooking time will take a lot longer, so I prefer to do just a single batch.
The yield can vary greatly for canning recipes. If you end up with a partial jar, skip canning that one and stick it in the fridge. Use within 2 months.
2 1/2 pounds whole beets, rinsed, stems and long tails trimmed
1 (2 to 3-inch) stick cinnamon
2 whole cloves
4 whole cardamom pods
6 whole allspice berries
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
Cook the beets:
You may either boil or pressure cook the beets.
To boil the beets, put them in a large pot or saucepan and add enough water to cover by an inch. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a strong simmer and cook until the beets are tender enough to easily slide a paring knife in them, anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes (your cook time will depend on the size and freshness of your beets).
To pressure cook the beets, put 1 cup of water in the bottom of a pressure cooker. Set a steaming rack on top, then add the beets. Lock on the lid, bring to high pressure, and cook under pressure for 12 minutes for smaller beets, and 18 minutes for larger beets.
Use a quick release, then test for doneness–the beets should be tender enough to easily slide a paring knife into. If the beets are still hard, bring back to pressure and cook in 2-minute increments until they are fully cooked.
Put the cooked beets in a bowl and let them cool.
Prep the cooked beets:
Once the beets are cool enough to handle, slip them out of their skins. If any skins are still clinging, use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to assist you.
Dice the peeled beets into 1/2-inch pieces.
Get the canner and jars ready:
Set up a water bath canner with a canning rack. Add 3 pint or 7 half-pint canning jars to the canner and add enough water to cover the jars by at least an inch. Bring the water to a boil.
Wash the lids and rings in hot, soapy water.
Because the jars will be processed in the water bath for 10 minutes, it is not necessary to first sterilize the jars for this recipe. Do make sure your jars are clean. If you are planning to eat the pickles right away and store them the whole time in the refrigerator, you can skip the water bath step.
Prep the spices:
As the water bath heats, gather the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom, and allspice in a square of cheesecloth and tie with cooking twine. Leave one end of the twine long so you can tie it to the handles of the pot.
If you don’t have cheesecloth, use a very clean nylon footie.
Cook the chutney:
Put the diced beets, sugar, raisins, shallots, mustard, salt, vinegar, and water in a large stainless steel or enameled pot (a 5-quart Dutch oven is nice) and stir to combine. The wider the pot, the faster the cooking time will be.
Tie the long end of the twine to one of the pot handles, then toss the cheesecloth bundle in the pot (tying one end to a handle helps you keep track of the bundle so you don’t wind up canning it in a jar).
Stir once. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid becomes slightly syrupy and a little thicker, about 15 to 20 minutes. (Beet chutney won’t get sticky and jammy the way other chutneys get–the liquid will gain some body as it reduces, but it never gets truly thick. The liquid is more of a brine.)
Can the chutney:
Remove the cheesecloth bundle and discard. Using jar lifters, remove the jars from the canner and dump the water inside of them back into the pot. Set them on a clean dish towel on the counter.
Spoon the hot chutney into the hot jars dividing the liquid equally between the jars and leaving 1/2 inch of space between the top of the chutney and the rim of the jar. If there’s not enough liquid to come level with the beet pieces, boil more water and use that to top off the jars.
It’s typical for the yields on canning recipes to vary. Sometimes I only get 5 half-pint jars; sometimes I get 7.
Screw on the lids fingertip-tight. Lower the jars into the canner, making sure there’s enough water to cover the tops of the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil and process for 10 minutes.
Remove the jars from the canner and set them on the dish towel. As the jars cool, they will seal, sometimes with an audible pop.
You can return any jars that aren’t sealed within 12 hours back to the water bath and process in boiling water for another 10 minutes. If a jar refuses to seal, just let it cool and refrigerate it like you would any other open jar of pickles.
The chutney is best after allowing its flavors to meld for a few days. Once opened, store the chutney in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 6g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||3%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|