Canning all sorts of fruits and vegetables turns them from a divisive to flavourful, nutritious, and long-lasting dish. Canning and pickling also allows at-home canners to preserve beets as well as any other vegetable without investing in a pressure-cooker or canner, and as such canning becomes more accessible to the modern kitchen. Canning pickled beets in a water bath canner or in a large stockpot with a wire rack is an easy, and affordable method. Making use of that method to both preserve fresh vegetables including beets for later consumption will also add a sweet taste to an otherwise polarizing food for some.
The Tools You Require
- Pint-sized jars with canning lids and rings
- A knife
- A metal rack with handles that can fit a stockpot
- A large stockpot with a lid
- Large saucepans
- Cheesecloth/Kitchen Towels
- A metal cooling rack
- Chopsticks or something similar
- Jar grabber
- A ladle
- A slotted spoon
- A canning funnel
- White or filtered apple cider
- Pickling salt
- Other ingredients such as cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, onions
- If you do not have a water bath canner, it can be substituted with the pot and rack
Sterilize The Jars
The first thing you need to do in order to can your beets is to sterilise your jars and lids. Your tools mush be properly sterilized and free of chips and cracks as well. You can make use of reused jars and canning rings but metal canning lids must be brand new. New metal rings ensure that your canned beets seal properly, another option is to use reusable glass canning lids. Be careful not to reuse metal lids, because they will not seal properly after being reprocessed.
Prepare Your Beets
The next step will be to gather your beets. You should make use of beets that are young and small and not larger than two and a half inches in diameter. The larger, or older vegetables are not ideal for canning beets in a water bath because they will not be tender after being processed. Ensure that you trim the roots and the top of your beets, and leave an inch on each end to prevent colour bleed. Scrub your beets clean and separate them out by size if you need to.
Cook And Slice The Beets
After preparing your beets you should cook and slice them. Take your large saucepan or stockpot and fill it with water and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Add beets of the same size to the pot or saucepan and add more water if you need to cover the beets completely. After a bit of time, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the beets cook for about 30 to 45 minutes or until they are tender. Repeat the process until all the beets have been cooked, and then drain and throw away the liquid. When the beets are done allow them to cool so that they are safe to handle. Afterwards remove the skins, stems, and roots and slice or quarter them to your desired size. Add your other ingredients such as onions, and peel and slice them thinly.
Prepare The Brine
Next, prepare the brine. In a saucepan add some vinegar, salt, sugar, and water. You can make use of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for pickling beets, but apple cider vinegar will do a better job in adding flavour. You can also wrap the cinnamon sticks and cloves in a cheesecloth and also put them to the pot of vinegar. Place the saucepan on a stovetop and bring the mixture up to a boil. You can then add the chopped beets and onions, and let them cook at a simmer for about five minutes or so. Once your beets are done cooking, remove the spice-filled cheesecloth from the saucepan and set it aside.
Fill Your Jars
When the brine and beets are ready you can fill the jars. You can make use of the same slotted spoon, to pack your sanitized jars with beets and onions. Make sure that you leave half an inch of headspace when you fill your jars. Also pour some hot vinegar over the beets and make sure that you leave half an inch space of headspace at the top of the jar. Before you seal the jars ensure that you remove any air bubbles from the mix. You can make use of a chopstick, and run it slowly up and down inside of the jar. Do not forget to wipe the outside with a clean, damp cloth. When you are done you can place the lid and screw on the canning ring.
Immerse The Jars In A Water Bath
The last step will be to fill a large stockpot with water and bring it to a simmer. After that, place your jars on a wire rack with handles and slowly lower it into the water. Ensure that your jars are fully covered with an inch of water or more over the lids. Cover your pot, and slowly bring the water up to a boil. Keep in mind that the jars should not jostle or rattle. Let the jars sit in the boiling water for about 30 minutes or so. Your processing time may be longer based on your elevation above sea level because of the change in atmospheric pressure.
Cool And Store
Once all the steps are complete you simply need to cool and store your canned beets. Carefully remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for five minutes or so. As the pot cools, cover the table or countertop with a clean towel or cooling racks. Remove the jars one at a time with a jar lifter and place them on the covered counters. Let them cool for at least 12-24 hours and do not tighten the rings during this time. When the beets have cooled, remove the canning rings and check to see if the lids have sealed. Your canned beets should be ready to store.