I harvested some beets a few days ago (if you’re growing your own and don’t know when to harvest check out my post here). They weren’t on the meal plan for this week and I’ve got plenty more growing so I decided to can these ones. Some of my favorite canning recipes come from Better Homes and Gardens 2011 Canning Magazine – I can’t help but buy their “special interest” magazines at the checkout counter at the store. I bought this a few years ago and I think the recipes in it have been my favorite.
Before you get started make sure you have all of your canning supplies and brush up on your canning basics. The products I recommend are available via the following affiliate links. When you click through the link and make a purchase, I make a small commission to help fund my blog (it doesn’t have to be what I’m recommending and you’ll never get charged more). My full disclosure is here. For all canning, you’ll need to know the basics such as properly sanitizing your tools and jars and water bath canning. I would recommend reading this post from Ball on canning basics. You will also need something like I have, like this – Granite Ware Canning Kit, 9-Piece that includes the enamel pot and rack, a funnel, a jar grabber, a head space measuring tool, etc. For this specific recipe of preserves, you will also need Ball Canning Half Pint (8 oz.) Jars with lids and bands.
Organic Canning: Pickled Beets Recipe
Makes about 6 half pints
3 pounds small (2 inch in diameter) organic whole beets*
2 cups organic vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp whole allspice
6 whole cloves
3 inches of a cinnamon stick
*Some of my beets were a bit larger than 2 inches, its fine. Follow the same directions and then after cooking cut the beets into 1 inch chunks or 1/4″ slices.
Prep the beets: Wash the beets, cut off the beet stems (leave about 1 inch of the stems), and trim the root ends. Don’t peel them! In a large sauce pan, cook the beets in boiling, lightly salted water for about 25 minutes (or until tender).
Drain them and let them cool slightly. Trim off the rest of the roots and stems and slip off the skins. Quarter the small beets (or cut larger ones into 1 inch chunks).
Make the pickling liquid in a medium stainless steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy sauce pan. Combine vinegar, sugar, and water. Put allspice, cloves, and cinnamon in a 6 inch square piece of cheesecloth. Close with a clean kitchen string. Add the spice bag to the pickling liquid. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove spice bag and throw it away.
Pack the beets into hot, sterilized half pint jars leaving a 1/2 inch headspace. Pour hot pickling liquid over the beets (make sure to maintain the headspace). Wipe jar rims and adjust lids.
Process filled jars in a boiling water canner for 30 minutes (make sure that you start timing when the water has returned to a boil). Remove jars and let cool.
Nancy Raymond, MSMS,MS, RDN, FAARFM
Actually, the health benefits of beets have been in the news lately!! Beets contain high amounts of nitrates which are known to be great for cardiovascular health. Recently, a university study on athletic performance used beet juice to increase their athlete’s endurance (the length of time they can continue to exercise before they fatigue). Turns out the nitrates in beets increase oxygen uptake in the cells, which essentially, produces more energy and less fatigue in the working muscle! Now beet juice is being used by athletes for an “instant” endurance boost, without additional training! Other nitrate rich veggies include greens such as arugula, parsley, spinach, endives, fennel and leaks. The athletes drank about 2 cups of beet juice a day for six days and increased their endurance and performance by 16%! So, if you haven’t tried beets, maybe Kristina’s recipe is a good way to start! All of us could use an energy boost!