Growing our own food is important to us – and I’m lucky because my husband does all the work! He grows it, I cook it. That’s our deal. He pulled 18 lbs of beets out of the garden…so guess what I was doing last weekend? You got it – I broke out my canning equipment. My mom taught me to can when I was a little girl and I’ve been in love with it ever since. It is a labor of love, though – no doubt about that. Once I’m done …. I am oh, so glad I’m done. We enjoy the fruits of our labor all year, and by the time the next harvest comes along I’m excited to do it all over again.
So here goes. And, please don’t look to this post for everything you need to know about canning. If it’s your first time, you’ll need some basic equipment and a few hours. You’ll want to do a bit of reading on food preparation and safety. It’s not complicated – or I wouldn’t do it.
Let’s get started!
Pull these gorgeous things out of the garden, trim & wash.
I roasted the bulk of the beets in a hot oven until tender. I boiled a few of the others because I planned to include the beet water in the canning liquid. Once the beets are tender, slip their skins off. I toss all the shavings and skins into the compost bin.
Get you canning liquid ready. Here is what you’ll need.
In a large pot, combine the beet water, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. I show cloves here, but you may want to omit them. Some people have a sensitivity to cloves. Did you know back in the day, clove was used as a dental anesthetic? Fun fact, there. Simmer the liquid as noted in the recipe below.
Sterilize your jars. You’ll also get an amazing facial. Slice up the beets if you like, the size & shape is up to you, or leave them whole depending on the size of your jars.
Pack your beets into the jars and add the liquid, put the lids on & process.
One batch goes into be processed
Careful with the hot jars. These have just been removed from the pot. See the dimple on the top of the lid? That needs to go flat to know you’ve got the processing right. There will be a glorious little ping noise when the lid seals. It’s joyful and a huge reward for your labor!
And, here we are…all done! The color is amazing, don’t you think? I display a few of these in my kitchen all year long because I think they’re beautiful. I love the glass jar, the color of the beets. It’s gorgeous and very, very yummy.
- 8 pounds fresh beets
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water or beet water from the stockpot
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice (optional)
- 1 tablespoon whole clove (optional – and if sensitive to clove, don’t add it)
- Wash beets, roast or boil until tender and peel.
- In large sauce pot combine fresh water or beet water, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 min.
- Remove cinnamon sticks and if allspice & clove are used, strain liquid to remove those.
- Pack beets into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
- Ladle hot liquid over beets, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2 piece caps.
- Process 30 minutes in a boiling-water canner.