Home Canned Pickled Beets

Today was my very first try at canning beets. I got out Mom’s old cookbook and used that recipe.

 It’s the recipe that Mom still uses when she cans beets.

I personally don’t like beets but I know my husband does and I wanted to make them for him.

I picked some beets from our garden but there weren’t enough for the recipe so I bought three bundles at Tom Thumb for 25¢ per bundle of three large beets. No kidding. I got 9 large beets for 75¢. That sounds like prices from back in 1950, about when the cookbook was printed.

I didn’t have to use my pressure cooker and I used pint jars because they are small enough for my husband to eat beets at a few meals, since he’s the only one who will be eating them.

Husband said he really likes my beets. Don’t tell Mom but husband said that the last couple batches she made were a bit too bitter. Maybe she used regular vinegar instead of cider vinegar or she didn’t put in enough sugar. Anyway…

Here’s the recipe.

6½ pounds of beets

3 cups cider vinegar

4 to 5 cups sugar (I used 5)

Use bright red beets as nearly the same size as possible. If some are much larger than the others, the larger ones may be cut in half (I quartered mine) after cooking and peeling.

Cut off tops of beets to leave about 1 inch of stems. Wash carefully through 2 or 3 waters to remove all soil from beets and stems; rub with hands, never with a brush which might break the skin and tap root and permit loss of color through bleeding.

Place beets in a 6-qt kettle. (I used my large stock pot because the beets were so large.) Cover with boiling water, cover kettle and boil slowly until tender, 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size and tenderness of the beets. When done, drain and cool just enough so they can be handled; slip off the skins and stems. I wore Playtex Disposable Kitchen Cuisine gloves.

Return the beets while still warm to the washed kettle and add the vinegar and sugar. If the vinegar is stronger than 4% acidity (mine was 5%), more sugar may be added to give the desired flavor. (I used 5 cups sugar.) Heat to just simmering. The pickling syrup should barely cover the beets, and should have an oily appearance. Pack the hot beets into hot sterile jars, and then pour the hot syrup over them to just cover the beets in each jar. Seal immediately. Be sure to screw the lid on real tight. Chill before serving. Makes 6 pints.

Husband didn’t want to wait for them to chill because he wanted to put a little butter on them while they were still warm enough to melt the butter.

I got 7 pint jars from my batch. I think I actually had about 7 pounds of beets. I’m guessing I spent $3 for the beets and vinegar. I already had the sugar. I got 7 pints for that $3 which is cheaper than I would spend at the store for beets. I’m so glad they turned out good. This inspires me to do some more canning. I think I’ll try green beans next. That means a trip to the farmers market, since I don’t have green beans in my garden.

Do you like pickled beets? They were so easy to can. It only took a couple hours. Try it for yourself. Home cooking and canning is so much better than store bought.

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