This is our family recipe for pickling and canning beets. This was the first time I grew some in our garden and pickled them. (Although my mom has pickled them many times in the past.)
- 40 - 50 small to medium beets
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp pickling spice
- Trim the tops and skinny roots on the bottom of the beets off without going to far into the flesh of the beet.
- Wash in water and scrub until the beets are clean.
- Cook the beets in water until they are fork tender, but not mushy. This will take 20-30 minutes depending upon the size of the beets. It may take longer if you have large round beets.
- Mix the water, vinegar, sugar, and pickling spice in a large pan.
- Once your beets are cool enough to handle but still warm, go ahead and peel the beets and cut until they are more uniform in size. You will want to wear disposable gloves for this step. Trim off a small portion of the top and bottom of each beet and rub between your fingers or hands to remove the peel. You may also rub them with a paper towel to remove the peel. Cut the larger beets so they are about the same size as the smaller beets.
- Put the beets in the pan with the pickle brine and bring to a boil. Stir to combine the ingredients while the sugar dissolves. Cook until completely heated throughout.
- While the beets are cooking, heat the lids in a sauce pan with water and bring to a boil.
- When the jars, beets, and lids are hot, you can start the canning process. Add boiling water to your canner to fill it about half way. You can also use a deep stock pot that is large enough for all your jars. Alternatively, you can fill halfway with water and then bring to a boil. Keep the water boiling while you do the canning. The key to keeping everything sterile and insure sealing is to keep everything hot and clean.
- You may want to cover your working surface with an old towel so you don't stain your counter. Fill each jar with pickled beets and brine. Then wipe around the edges of the jar with a clean damp cloth to ensure it is clean and doesn't have any juice on it. Use tongs to remove a lid from the water and place on top of the jar. Then screw on a jar ring. You may want to hold the jar with a towel while you do this since the jar will be hot. Place the jar in the canner. Continue until all the jars are in the hot water bath. If the water doesn't completely cover the jars, add more water.
- Cover with a lid and keep at a boil for 30 minutes. Then remove the jars from the water and let cool before handling. It's useful to have a wide jar lifter for this. The jar lids should pop shortly after removing them from the heat. After the jars have cooled, check to make sure they have sealed. The jar lids should be concaved slightly down. If they are flat or domed, they didn't seal correctly and you will need to remove the lid and do the canning steps again. If only one jar doesn't seal, you can just store in the refrigerator and eat.
Sterilize 5-6 pint canning jars before cooking the beets. You can wash them in the dishwasher or by hand if you like. While you are preparing the beets, you can sterilze the jars by cooking them in boiling water or running them on the rinse and dry cycle of you dishwasher. If you have larger beets, you may want to slice them before pickling and canning.