For Test Kitchen director Robby Melvin, it's not Thanksgiving until his Granny's "old-school" relish tray hits the table. The tray is packed with a colorful array of pickled vegetables, including beets. Here's his updated take on her recipe, flavored with dried oregano and thyme and a tangy apple cider vinegar brine. When shopping, look for small to medium-size fresh beets.


Credit: Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe Summary

5 hrs
20 mins
Serves 10


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Trim beets, leaving root and 1-inch stem; scrub with a brush. Place in a medium saucepan with water to cover, and bring to a boil over high. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain completely. Cool 5 minutes; trim roots, and rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch slices; place in a large bowl.

  • Stir together vinegar, water, sugar, onion, thyme, salt, oregano, and peppercorns in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour hot liquid over beets; cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight.