Saturday, January 28, 2012

Recipe for Picking Beets and Canning

preparing fresh beets for canning

Supplies for Canning Beets

  • 3 quarts of beets (approximately 20 medium beets)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 cups of vinegar
  • quart size canning jars, lids and rims


Preparing the Beets

When growing beets, they take two and a half months to three and a half months to be ready for harvest, depending on the variety. Beets are usually ready to be harvested in early June, before the hottest part of the summer season. When harvesting beets, push the dirt away from the tops and check the width of the beets. They are ready when the width reaches one to two inches. Don't leave beets in the ground too long or they become tough and woody.
It's best to prepare the beets for canning within a day of harvest. If the beets cannot be prepared and canned immediately, store them in the refrigerator, or in a cool dry place to prevent spoiling. Wash the beets well. Trim the roots and stems from the beets. Slice the beets using whatever method is desired. Beets are often quartered or sliced into 1/4 inch slices for canning.


Cooking the Beets for Canning

In a saucepan, boil the beets in salted water, until they become tender. Allow the beets to cool. Drain off one and a half cups of water. In a large stockpot, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, allspice, and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, or low heat. Continue to simmer the liquid for 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks immediately.


Canning Beets

canned food
The jars, lids and rings should be sterilized either by boiling them in hot water, or by washing them in a high-temperature dishwasher. Pack the cooked beets into the sterile jars. Ladle in the hot liquid, leaving at least one quarter inch of space at the top of the jar to prevent leaking while the beets are in the water bath canner. Remove any air bubbles in the jars by sliding a sterile spatula down the side of the jar. Seal the jars by placing the lid and ring on the jar. Process the jars in the boiling water of a water bath canner for 30 mintues.
Remove the canned beets from the canner and allow them to rest undisturbed overnight. The jars will begin to seal as they cool. You can check to ensure the jars have sealed after at least 12 hours by pressing down on the lid of the jar. If the lid has no give and it is depressed, then the beets have sealed. Label the jars with the date and the contents before storing. The pickled beets will last a year in a cool dry pantry.


Credits and Further Reading

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