In my endless quest to add more flair to my salads, I decided to add pickled beets – a joy of mine – but without the cooking of the beets, which is most decidedly not a joy of mine. The trick to this recipe is getting the beets as thin as possible, which a mandoline will do gorgeously. I had a mandoline in the basement but, honestly, it is a scary and dangerous contraption. This new instrument, which is simply a hand-held version you position over a bowl, is the answer to my mandoline dreams and gets the beets so paper thin that the hot pickling brine softens it so the slices are still crisp but no cooking is required. These beets are a great addition to a salad, a veggie bowl or even when you are just craving a pickled something or other. For some tastes, it may be too strong of a pickled flavor and if that’s the case, add some sweetener along with your brine when you’re preparing it. I prefer my pickled things without any sweetness but I’m wacky like that.
4 loose cups beet slices, peeled and very thinly sliced with a mandoline 3 - 4 cloves garlic, smashed under a large knife 1 bay leaf 2 cups apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar 2 cups water 2 teaspoons caraway seeds 2 teaspoons salt 1½ teaspoons whole peppercorns ½ - 1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes Sugar to taste (optional)
Place the sliced beets in a sanitized, dry quart jar (Ball jar style) with a ring and lid. Place the smashed garlic and bay leaf in with the beets.
Heat the rest of the ingredients in a medium pot until boiling. Cover and simmer for five minutes, then pour in with the beets. (Funnels make this safe and easy.) You will have a little leftover liquid and spices in the pot. I skimmed the spices out and topped the jar off with them. Cover and cool on the counter for a few hours, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours before eating.