Friday, June 15, 2012

Pickled Beets

My family loves pickled beets especially on salads. The beets have been a challenge in the garden this year. The wild rabbits completely ate the first patch and we had to purchase seeds locally and replant. Once we put a small fence around the beets we were finally able to have a beet crop although a little later than normal.  For those who would like to follow along with this recipe it can be found on page 55 of the Ball Blue Book ( 100th Anniversary Edition) . 

First you need to pick about 3 quarts of beets or about 24 small beets. We like ours about the size of tennis balls. Then wash the beets outside to remove dirt and cut the greens off leaving about 2 inches of stem. Do Not cut the beets or they will bleed red everywhere.   The greens are great to give to the chickens or rabbits. Once you have your beets clean and trimmed place in a large pan of water to cover. Now cook beets until soft but do not over cook. Just until a fork can be pushed into one without a huge amount of resistance. 

Now drain your cook beets and allow to cool so that they can be handled comfortably.

While waiting for your beets to cool warm your jars in your bailing water canner. Put your lids in a small pot of warm water to heat.

Now peel your beets and slice. Don't worry that peeling will just slide off with your fingertips. Now slice your beets anywhere from a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick or chop into small chunks if that is the way you like them. If I have very small beets I have even just pickled them whole.

Now in sauce pan combine 2 cups sugar, 2 sticks cinnamon, 1 Tablespoon whole allspice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3 1/2 cups vinegar, 1 1/2 cups water. Bring mixture to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. 

Pack sliced beets into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  

Ladle hot liquid over beets again leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. 

Wipe rims to remove any food particles.

Place hot lids and rings on hot jars and fingertip tighten only.

Place jars in hot water canner until completely submerged. Process pints and quarts for 30 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove from canner and allow to cool until you hear that familiar ping as the top pulls down and seals. 

For me this recipe made 6 large mouth pints. I have several more pickings still in the garden but I always pick the largest ones first and then as the remaining beets increase in size continue to pick. 

Just a word of warning: Beet juice stains horribly.

Blessings from The Holler


  1. When they say boiling water, do they mean just steam coming off like your picture? Or do they mean active bubbling similar to a rolling boil? I was never sure.

    Congratulations on your beets! We eat them on occasion, but I think 6 quarts would probably last us a year. :o)

  2. Shoot. I'm impressed. I just keep a continuous jug of cold pickled beets in the refrigerator to devour as needed. My recipe is different; but aren't beets great?

  3. My husband like beets, me not so much. I think they taste like dirt. lol

    I tried growing them one year for him and they didn't do well. Not sure if our children like them or not. Guess I need to see if they do too and plant some in late summer for a fall crop.

  4. Your beets look just like the ones my Granny and my mother and I used to put up. I can honestly say that I could sit down and eat a pint in one sitting, and NO sharing!! lol.
    I have to have them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then I get to enjoy those jars the rest of the winter. I don't garden anymore or beets would be at the top of the "gotta plant" list.

  5. We eat the greens also. Fry up a couple slices of diced bacon, wash greens and toss wet into the hot skillet with the bacon and grease and add salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes a dribble of vinegar. Yum and VERY high in vitamins. Or we blanch and freeze if they last that long. I didn't get any planted this spring but I'm going to try some in July for a fall crop. I haven't done that before.

    1. Thanks for the recipe and we are definitely going to have to try that! I had read that they were edible but have never experimented with them.

  6. My mouth is watering! I didn't plant any beets. I'll have to try to find some at the farmer's market!

  7. I have made pickled beets before, but your recipe sounds wonderful and I am going to try it this year. I am visiting from the Barn Hop and I LOVE your blog! Have subscribed to your feed.

  8. Thank you for linking this up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

  9. Do you have a recipe for just canning plan beets? I love beets but don't like anything pickled. I would like to save the juice as well for dye especially near Easter. Not sure how to go about that if it's another canning process or what for the dyes. My aunt drinks the juice when I make beets so it doesn't wasted either way. Beet juice is a natural red dye. Just need vinegar like other home dies to color the eggs. Never tried it with clothes but used it a lot as when we were kids in the place of food coloring. I'm sensitive chemicals, dyes and perfumes so looking into canning and making own products that I won't react to.

    1. I'm sorry Jessica but the only way that I have ever canned beets is to pickle them. I am sure they can be canned probably just like turnips but I have just never tried: )

  10. As a trained Master Food Preserver thru UWExt. I am so thankful to see you sharing recipes for food preservation that have been tried and proven safe. Thanks for citing reliable preserving sites as well.


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