Swedish Pickled Beets

This recipe comes from my Uncle Dave Erikson, who shared his grandmother’s recipe with me. Jenny Otelia Hoglund Kerikkson was born in Sweden near Kromsforth, a town up past Stockholm nearer the Laplanders. The recipe is a family heirloom, and I’m grateful it got handed down to me. These beets are a little sweet and a little sour, full of spice from cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, and they taste much better than the pickled beets you buy in a can.

Swedish Pickled Beets



  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 12 whole allspice


  • Cut off the leaves from the beets, wash off any dirt, and place the beets in a large pot of cold water with salt. Cook the beets until they are knife tender, about 40 minutes.
  • Place pot under running cold water and let rinse until the beets can be handled. The skins can now be easily peeled off. Peel the beets and cool them completely.
  • In a separate pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer.
  • Cut the peeled beets into thick slices (if beets are very small, you can skip this step and can them whole). Place the prepared beets into the hot vinegar mixture and simmer for a few minutes more.
  • Bottle the beets into clean, dry canning jars to within 1″ of the top of each jar. Pour the hot vinegar into the jars to within 1/4″ of the rims. Wipe any drips away from the rim with a clean cloth, then top with sterilized lids and screw on the bands.
  • Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using canning tongs. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a simmer and process the jars for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the jars with canning tongs.
  • Let the jars cool completely, then store in a cool place (or the refrigerator) for at least one week before opening.
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