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we got the beet

Recipe: pickled beets

Happy New Year! It’s January first and I already feel as if we’ve accomplished something wonderful over here in our snowy little corner of the world. As many of you know, Neva is on a leash outside of the house 99% of the time unless she is fetching her orange tennis ball. Most of the dogs we meet are roaming free because the dogs are reliable on voice command or because their owners are irresponsible jerks (this is the truth). Off-leash dogs get lots of exercise because they can run and explore and cover so much more distance than their people do. But our sweet Neva has a nose that overrides all brain functionality and she will bolt after the first thing she smells – which is pretty much anything – and follow it until she is lost, hit by a car or snow mobile, or trampled by a moose. We keep her on leash for her safety, because we love her. And because we love her, we want her to get outside for the exercise she needs and enjoys.

In summer, Jeremy will trail run with Neva in addition to the fetch sessions, swim sessions, and long hikes. In winter, we would take her on short walks, ski tour, or backcountry ski with her. All of those are sloooow for a little rocket like Neva (except when we ski downhill). I mean, she’s all legs! But last week, Jeremy and I gave her a trial run on a skate ski. Skate skiing is fast. It’s like the trail running of winter. Here in Crested Butte, we have groomed Nordic trails right out of our neighborhood that are dog-friendly. Some of the trails in the Crested Butte Nordic trail system are also designated as dog-friendly, allowing ski pups access to miles of running with their ski person, as long as the pup has a Nordic pass. It costs $40 for the season for each dog, but it’s incredibly nice of CB Nordic to accommodate dog owners as our other Nordic center prohibits dogs, period. The reason we test drove Neva on our neighborhood trails was to determine if we wanted to spring for a dog pass. Why waste $40 if she’s a nightmare and can’t have fun?


neva on her first skate ski



First, Neva LOVED it. Second, Jeremy wasn’t dragged to his death. Third, Jeremy worked out a system with her leash, harness, and no poles. Neva can run even faster than on summer trails because Jeremy skate skis faster than he runs. And while she’s full speed ahead for the first few miles, she gets into a nice groove and eventually gallops along happily. We decided to pull the trigger and get her a pass, taking her out to our favorite stretch of trail – Mike’s Mile, up the Slate River Valley – which is simply beautiful and serene and fast!

neva sports her doggy nordic pass



We do try to mix things up for us and for Neva. On New Year’s Eve morning, we took her on an uphill ski on the mountain (yes, we’re trying to train her to do that, too). She basically pulled, cried, and whined at every skier, snow mobile, ski patrol, lift chair, or leaf blowing by. But she had a blast on the way down because Neva likes to run FAST.

at the top of our uphill ski – neva promptly destroyed the headband after this photo

new year’s eve fireworks and torchlight parade on the mountain (neva safely at home)



This morning we lay in bed debating what to do – ski uphill, telemark on the mountain, or skate ski? With snow in the forecast all week, this was probably our last opportunity to skate for several days, so we roped up the little doggy and headed for the Nordic trails. We never thought it would be possible to skate with Neva on leash, but she’s good about not crossing the skis and she isn’t trying to run away from them either (she is scared of our fat skis on the mountain). The other nice thing about skate skiing with Neva is that these skis don’t have metal edges, so there’s far less danger of cutting her. The things we do for our pup… but she’s so worth it.

happy 2017!



New year, fresh starts. I wasn’t going to post some crazy butter-rich dish the first day of the new year. No, I’m sharing something easy, healthy, and delicious because everyone needs to eat their vegetables. Beets are one of those vegetables that I can never get enough of – they taste like corn with the texture of carrots and they are good for you. Save the greens for a nice sauté! Turn your fingers bright pink for days! Pickle the beetroot for a most delightful snack or the starring role in a salad. Yes, please!

beautiful beets

cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, dry mustard, beets

roast the beets in foil



Pickled beets are one of those food items I loved to eat, but never considered buying until I saw those pretty jars of MM Local pickled beets lining the shelves of my grocery store. That didn’t make me want to buy them, but it did make me want to pickle some of my own. It’s so easy I could punch myself for not doing this since the beginning of time.

adding cider vinegar to the mustard and sugar

whisking in the olive oil

season with salt and pepper to taste



You can roast or boil the beets – I prefer roasting – then whip up the dressing, and combine them in a jar. How you slice your beets is a matter of personal taste. I like mine chunky, but thick slices, batons, or whatever floats your boat are all fair game. Toss the beets with the dressing and allow them to sit for at least 30 minutes on the counter. I like to let mine hang out in the refrigerator for at least a day after the counter time.

roasted beets

peel and slice the beets

place the beets and the dressing in a jar and give it a shake

sit for 30 minutes at room temperature

voilà, pickled beets



Pickled beets are so satisfying to eat straight up. I’m a bit of a sucker for pickles in general. They also add a more substantive dimension to salads without making them too heavy. My favorite combination involves beets, greens, chèvre, toasted hazelnuts, orange, and a citrus vinaigrette. Who doesn’t love a fresh start to the year? This is one way to do it.

a favorite salad

the pickled beets are the main attraction

don’t miss a beet



Pickled Beets
[print recipe]
from Simply Recipes

4 or 5 beets
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

If the beets have their greens attached, cut them off close to the top of the beet (but don’t throw them out – they are great sautéed). Scrub the beets clean.

Method 1: boil the beets: Place the beets in a medium saucepan and fill with water to an inch above the beets. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 35-40 minutes until the beets are fork tender. Drain the beets and rinse with cold water.

Method 2: roast the beets: Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub the beets with a little olive oil or vegetable oil. Wrap the beets in a foil envelope and roast for an hour. Remove from oven and let cool.

Pickle the beets: Peel the beets and slice them into quarters, thick slices, or batons. In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk the cider vinegar, sugar, olive oil, and dry mustard together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place the beets in a jar. Pour the dressing into the jar. Seal and shake to coat the beets. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

refrigerator pickles hot giardiniera (pickled hot peppers) pickled red onions vietnamese pickled vegetables

13 nibbles at “we got the beet”

  1. Linda says:

    Love the pic of Neva the sled dog! There is nothing sweeter and more energetic than a Lab (and black lab is my fav)! My grandpuppy, Rowdy the black lab, will be 10 on Valentine’s Day. I’m starting to worry about how much longer she will be with us.

    I laughed out loud at the pic of her with her fairy headband. Give her a hug and a kiss for me. I enjoy your blog so much. I love pickled beets, and I might give them a try.

    xo Linda

  2. heather (delicious not gorgeous) says:

    love that these are quick pickled; no patience to wait for long fermentation! (; i love plain roasted beets in salads already, so pickled roasted beets must be even better.

  3. Katrina says:

    I LOVE pickled beets!! And these are wonderful. I can’t believe how easy they are to make!

  4. Bette says:

    I just made a batch yesterday — of golden beets! Exact same recipe and deliciousness, except that I use rice vinegar for the lighter color and taste.

  5. Jill Hyde says:

    One of my favorite vegetables! Love love love the color! So much so, I knit myself a sweater that color.
    Neva must be hard wired through the nose. It’s so great that you continue to work with her on leash and find the way to exercise with her. Happy New Year and may it snow lots! xo, jill

  6. Ethel says:

    Love the ski skating! Pics look glorious and make me miss my Tahoe days in the snow with my Weim and Choc Lab!! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  7. Colleen says:

    This looks yummy, I’d like to try it, but I’m cutting sugar out of my diet. Is the sugar required for pickling, or can I omit?

  8. lora spence says:

    Dear Real Butter (I believe in real butter, too!) I had pickled beets all my childhood and I simply had forgotten about it. My mom boiled eggs, peeled them and they went in the jar with beets and sliced onion. In my part of Ohio (where I am from originally) they sold these at local stores alot. My dad apparently loved them. I liked how the eggs turned out pink! I don’t remember if mom used fresh beets or not. She wasn’t into gardening much so I know they didn’t come from our yard. I don’t know. And they really are so good for you. I don’t know what liquid she put in the jar but they seemed to be in vinegar and oil something. I remember a bit of sugar she put in there. and salt. I don’t know if this is a common way to make canned beets for others or not. We lived in a town where there were a variety of people from Europe who had lots of different foods. God bless and thanks for bringing up an old memory. Lora

  9. lora spence says:

    While we’re talking… :) I laughed and laughed about Neva and the speed she can go. You must go crazy trying to help her get control. She is so cute!! We have a mini dachshund and we put up the fence before we got her and the fence bottom was high enough for her to slide thru and escape. :( And there are horses in the land behind us who tolerate her but I don’t think she is safe. So my husband got chicken wire and put it around the bottom of the fence. He somehow wired and staked it. It lasted about 5 minutes :( Sadie would yank at the wire until she had it down. Soooooo, I can’t believe he did this… He leashed Sadie and hung an empty paint can at the end of the short leash. It didn’t trouble Sadie at all until that paint can could not fit thru the fence! Foiled again!! lol I miss being in Ohio where we had snow and it was fun. Today in Texas it’s 70. Nice but it’s not snow and it’s January. sorry, I write long. God Bless you, Jeremy and Neva!! Lora

  10. farmerpam says:

    Such a lucky dog! Love beets, just made pickled onions today, will have to add some beets to the mix. I had a drink this holiday season made with beet marinated vodka. Who knew the humble root veggie could be so versatile?

  11. jenyu says:

    Linda – I know the feeling when dogs get old (or reach that double digit age). Just love on her and care for her – no matter how much time she has left. Also, older dogs start to lose their hearing or sight and things get a little slower, a little tougher, a little more confusing. There will be accidents in the house. Be patient and compassionate (like you would with a 90 year old grandma or grandpa) and always come from a place of love. That will guarantee your grandpup the happiest remaining years <3

    heather - I know, right? I could eat roasted beets until the cows come home, but pickled roasted beets were like - whoa! :)

    Katrina - I nearly slapped myself for putting off making these when I discovered how simple it is. Go make some! xo

    Bette - Oh yum! Great minds, lady :)

    Jill - I love the color, too! Except when it gets on my clothes (something I can't seem to avoid). We're hoping to get Neva some professional training this year. Fingers crossed!

    Ethel - I think Tahoe is getting hammered with a big storm right now, good snow! And yes, snow and happy pups are the best combination.

    Colleen - So I went and did a little research into this. There are a few options. You can cut the sugar in half, omit it altogether (not sure how palatable it will be, but you'll have to judge for yourself), or use a sugar substitute like Splenda. I am 100% opposed to sugar substitutes because I think they taste horrible. That's just me, and you might be okay with Splenda, in which case, substitute away! Here's the thing, if you plan to can/preserve the pickled beets, you must use a tested recipe that is specifically for canning (perhaps not this one - I don't know, I haven't tested it), because the pH of the liquid matters to prevent botulism. This recipe stores in the refrigerator for at least a week (I eat them up pretty quickly). Hope that helps!

    Lora - I have never pickled eggs with beets, but it's something I would love to try (I like the pink color on the eggs!). Thanks for sharing and have a great 2017!

    farmerpam - Mmmm, pickled onions - another favorite! I've seen beet infusions popping up on cocktail menus, too. So neat. Beets are awesome <3

  12. Sam says:

    I have loved your blog for years and have made many (and recommended many) of your recipes. I usually have a bag of frozen pot stickers in my freezer.
    Have you tried skijoring equipment for Neva? I have spent hours skijoring with my dog burning off winter energy. It is specially made for just what you are doing with Neva. The harness and belt are comfortable for both participants, the line has some give to help with any sudden jerking, and, most importantly, there is a quick release for safety. I found it superior to the leash system most people usually use for running and well worth the investment.

  13. jenyu says:

    Sam – we haven’t yet, but a friend of mine says she has some I can borrow and test drive with Neva to see if we like it. Glad to hear another person who recommends the equipment. If only we had a dog who wasn’t a total spaz ;) xo

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