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This seems to be the year that people are growing a garden that haven’t had one in the past. Maybe some of you are trying new garden veggies and are wondering what you can do with all that glorious goodness that your garden is producing. I’m sharing one of our family’s favorite garden recipes with you…pickled beets. Wondering how to can pickled beets? Don’t worry, I’ll explain and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is!
If you would have told me 20 years ago I’d be planting beets in my garden and actually canning them, I would’ve looked at you like you were downright CRAZY!
I remember trying a beet off my dad’s plate while visiting a restaurant and I thought it was just about the nastiest thing I’d ever tasted and I am far from a picky eater.
My husband grew up on them and loves them, so he got the recipe for canned pickled beets from his grandma. Much to my dismay, we started growing beets in the garden and I found that, surprisingly, they are my favorite also. I think it’s because they are pickled. Apparently that beet I had at the salad bar was not pickled, maybe?? Anyway, this is a tried and true recipe that has been around for a while, generations possibly. It only takes a few ingredients and a little bit of patience to make your very own pickled beets.
You may be wondering when the right time to pull the beets are and the answer is, personal preference. I like to get the most bang for my buck, so I like to wait until they are fairly large. Not quite the size a large onion, maybe. Of course, they all seem to grow at different rates, so if you’re like me and like to knock all the beets out in one big day, if some are smaller that is okay too.
The biggest thing to know when canning beets is: when you pull the plant, you can trim the leaves, however, there is a very tiny leaf near the bulb of the beet, do not cut that off until after you boil the beets because it will cause the beets to bleed their deep red color. They will still taste okay, but they won’t be as pleasing to the eye.
How To Can Pickled Beets
You will need:
8 Cups beets, sliced or cubed
4 Cups sugar
4 Cups distilled white vinegar
1 Tablespoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds
The first step is to pull the plants. This can be done the day/night before canning. You can trim the leaves, but make sure you look for the teeny-tiny leaf near the bulb and leave it. (See above.) Normally, if you leave about 2 inches of stems above the bulb, you’ll be fine.
Wash them off with a garden hose to keep the large mess out of your house. Beets are extremely messy to can! I don’t wear gloves and my fingernails are dyed for days after canning!
Remove to cold water. When they are cool enough to touch, cut off the ends with a knife and peel off the outer skin. This part is extremely messy, but don’t worry, it all cleans up!
Now, you can slice or cube the beets. I prefer them cubed, but it is a personal preference. I like to do this step right in a large bowl.
Once the beets are skinned and cut up, measure them out and place them in a saucepan. Add in the vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil, then stir in the cloves and mustard seed. Then ladle into jars. Add sterilized lids and rings and process in a hot water bath for 30 minutes. Carefully remove from hot water batch and place on counter and leave for 24 hours then store.
I canned 40 pints of these two weeks ago for us to enjoy all year long! I think my girls could eat one jar with every meal! I hope you enjoy this recipe for Pickled Beets as much as my family has over the years!
How to Can Pickled Beets
- Pull the beet plants from the garden. (This can be done the day/night before canning.) Cut the leaves and stems off the bulbs making sure to leave the teeny-tiny leaf closest to the bulb. If this is cut off, it will cause the deep red coloring of the beets to bleed out. The beets will be fine, but the won't be as appealing to the eye.
- Rinse with garden hose. (You can skip this step, I just like to leave as much of the mess outside as I can.)
- Once inside, rinse the beets a final time and place in hot water. Cook until fork tender, then remove to cold water.
- Once cool to the touch, remove the bottom part of the beet as well as the remaining stem and peel away the skin.
- Slice or cube the beets.
- Place in a large saucepan with vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Add in the mustard seed and ground cloves.
- Ladle into clean pint-size jars. Apply sterilized lids and rings and place in hot water bath and process for 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove from the water and let rest on the counter for 24 hours before storing.