You know how some cookbooks give a recipe you consider worth the price of the whole book? I feel that way about the recipe for Pickled Beets with Red Wine in Linda Ziedrich's The Joy of Pickling. It is so good -- earthy, not too sweet, smooth, deep, not harsh. She calls for red wine vinegar, and it makes a big difference in this recipe. This recipe for Pickled Beets with Red Wine, published in 2008 in The Washington Post, was adapted from Ziedrich's recipe. I'm sure star anise would be a great addition. I adapt Ziedrich's recipe, too. I use less sugar, more ginger, and allspice instead of cloves.
I made a second batch last night. Some friends found out about my first batch, and the jars have been leaving my pantry sooner than I expected so I needed to replenish my supply. Pretty much, I can't imagine using another recipe ever again. These are the very best pickled beets I've ever tasted. (And, Stephanie, the jar I gave you earlier in the year was not made from this recipe. You must try this one.)
Life has been very beet-y around here. The kvass turned out. Peeling twelve pounds of beets yesterday for the pickles gave me renewed appreciation for their mineraly-goodness. (and the cracks in my hand are still stained...) It's Autumn... good time for beets.