Her recipe for pickled beets was published in Heirloom Cookbook: Recipes Handed Down by Jewish Mothers, but didn't really describe the way she made them. The full recipe, as written, is:
"Cook beets, then peel and slice. Cook 1/2 C white vinegar, 1 C orWhen I asked her for clarification (like how many beets I should use) she said she actually just uses "a big can" of cooked beets, but if I insisted on using fresh, about 2 pounds, peeled and chopped in chunks would do it. And then she told me to use 1 C vinegar and 1/2 C water. And although the recipe only calls for a slice of onion, she always puts in 1 onion, sliced.
more water, add 3 Tbsp sugar. Boil together. Add 1 slice of chopped
onion. Add beets. Let set 24 hours before eating. Delicious!"
You may have noticed that the original recipe doesn't have eggs; she always added them, too, I think on the philosophy that once you'd made the brine, you should get as much use out of it as possible. Here is the recipe with her modifications:
Esther Ann's Pickled Beets
Heat the oven to 375F. Gently clean beets, being careful not to pierce their skins. Wrap beets in foil, and bake until tender (1 1/2 - 2 hours, depending on size). Let cool and remove skins. Slice or cut into chunks. Layer with onions in a large jar and set aside.
- 2 lbs red beets
- 1 C white vinegar
- 1/2 C water
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 small onion, sliced
- peeled hard-boiled eggs (however many you'd like, provided they'll fit under the brine in your jar)
Heat vinegar, water, and sugar over medium-high heat until boiling. Pour the brine over the beets and onions. Add eggs. Refrigerate for at least a day before eating. The brine can be reused - I generally just keep adding new eggs until they no longer take up much of the brilliant ruby color of the beets.