Homemade pickled beets are a far cry from the syrupy, often overly sweet canned variety you might find at the store, and are an easy way to add scores of flavor and color to your meals or enjoy as a snack on their own. Skeptical? If you're still envisioning the store-bought jars of mushy pieces floating in a suspiciously technicolor red liquid, think again.
For thousands of years, people have been preserving and pickling produce for future enjoyment. During the quick pickling process (different than fermentation or canning), an acidic base -- usually some combo of sugar, salts, vinegar, and water -- is poured over the produce you're preserving. This acidity slows down the process of decay and prolongs the lifespan, but it doesn't make fresh foods last forever.
To enjoy them at their best and freshest, store your pickled beets in the refrigerator and plan to use them within a maximum of three months, or ideally within several weeks. Always keep an eye out for signs they've passed their prime before that though. Once they past the few weeks mark, be on the lookout for any changes in color, smell, or texture, or of course, any spots of mold, all of which indicate it's time to toss.
Read more: 10 Produce Storage Mistakes To Avoid
Use Your Pickled Beets Before They Turn
As is the case with any DIY pickling or fermentation, proper safety measures are paramount with pickled beets. Always practice safety measures like using sterilized equipment and jars in the prep process, and be sure to store the pickled root veg in the fridge (in the case of canned beets, a totally different method than quick pickling, different prep and storage rules apply.)
Your pickled beets will have a relatively short lifespan, which shouldn't be an issue considering how delicious they are in a variety of dishes. Enjoy them straight out of the jar, or atop salads to add tang and gut-healthy probiotics and minerals like iron and potassium. Think outside the box and incorporate them into your cheese boards, where they'll provide striking color and interest to any spread. Or add a layer of them to liven up any sandwich or wrap.
Try making your own pickled beets out of golden varieties (these require less clean-up than red beets, which can be messy and stain cutting boards and knives). Or to change up the typical presentation, try shredding the roots into fine strips and pickling for a sauerkraut-inspired take to enjoy in salads or bowls, or to dress up that avocado toast.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.