8/31/08

Home Canned Pickled Beets


Today I canned pickled beets. I decided it's really a labor of love... if you don't love them, it's not worth the labor! Beets are one of the more affordable vegetables in the store and at $.50 a can it's not a big expense... hmm does that mean that beets are not very well liked by the general population? LOL. I grew up eating beets and love them! Preferably hot with lots of butter, salt and pepper, but I also like them pickled and ice cold on a hot summer day.

This year I planted beets in my garden although only a few 'made it' - however, my father grew beets this year and got a lot of them! He brought me a bag of them 2 weeks ago and yesterday I got another bag. At this point I knew I better start doing something with them! I would have loved to have canned them with just salt but I don't have a pressure canner and a low acidic food such as beets (or carrots, green beans, etc.) really need to be pressure canned. Only high acidic foods or foods made with vinegar are good for water baths. So - that is how I came to make pickled beets today.

My recipe is out of an old Amish recipe book that my FIL gave me and it used to be my MIL's years ago (she passed away in 1982). I love the recipes in this book because the Amish women assume that you know just what they mean and use as little words as necessary. You can click on the recipe above to make it bigger or you can read it here; (typos are as typed in the Amish recipe book and are not mine);

How to Can Beets

To every quart vinegar add 1 tablespoon salt, 1 heaping cup sugar. If your beets are darkred use part white sugar. Spice whatever you like. Heat to boiling point and pour over beets. Can while hot.


That's it. The whole recipe. So... here is my version - with just a few more details as I made them.

Home Canned Beets - Pickled

1 quart vinegar - cider/white (I used a mixture because I didn't have enough cider vinegar)
1 c water
1 heaping c sugar - (I used 1 cup white and 1/4 c brown)
1 1/2 T salt (I checked 3 recipes and there was a disagreement on how much so I did 1 1/2 T.)
1/4 t cinnamon* more or less (or none at all) to taste
1/4 t cloves* more or less or not at all, to taste
10 lb. beets

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and optional cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil and simmer until ready.

Scrub fresh beets and cut off the roots and tops. Roast in a roasting pan in the oven, covered for an hour and then immediately fill the roasting pan with ice water or dump the beets into ice water so the skins will slip right off. Dice or cut beets to size, or if they are very small, under 2 inches, leave whole if you prefer. You can also boil them if you prefer although this will leak more of the red color out and they won't be quite as vibrant. Continue with the cutting and packing as above.

Pack into hot, sterilized jars.

Cover the beets with the hot brine leaving 1/2 - 3/4 inch head space. Tighten lids and caps and water bath process for 35 minutes for quarts and 30 minutes for pints. Let cool on the counter, making sure they 'pop' and store to use.

I got about 3 quarts out of this.



Cutting off the roots and stems


In the roasting pan (I removed the cover for the photo)

Plunged into cold water


Sliced or diced and packed into hot, sterilized jars


After a 35 minute water bath let them set to cool and 'pop' and then store in a cool dry place like a cupboard.

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