When you think of canning, beets probably aren’t the first thing that comes to your mind. However, canned beets are becoming increasingly popular as more people choose to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Canning beets is quick and easy compared to other types of vegetables, making them an ideal choice for preserving beets.
There are several benefits to canning beets. First, canning beets are a great way to preserve them for later use. Canned beets also retain their nutrients, which means you can enjoy all the benefits of beets without having to cook them. Additionally, canned beets are easy to store and transport, making them a convenient option for meals on the go.
There are several ways to can beets, and this blog post explores the most popular methods. This blog post will serve as your ultimate go-to post for canning beets as it guides right from buying beets to canning and storing them.
How to Buy Beets
The very step in our canning guide for beets is buying them! Here are a few tips that will help you buy the best produce the next time you are at the grocery
Look for small to medium in size beets. The larger beets are usually very fibrous, and you may not want to use them for canning.
Avoid beets that are soft, have bruises or spots on them, or look wet.
The green tops of the beets will help you identify which beets are fresh. Look for beets that have fresh and crisp leaves which are not wilted.
If you need to store the beets for a few days before using them, store them rolled up in a dry cloth or paper towel. Do not wash the beets if you plan to store them for a few days. Store the wrapped beets in a plastic bag and squeeze out as much air as you can before you put them in the refrigerator. Try to use these beets within 10-15 days.
Pressure Canning or Water Bath Canning
There is no scope of negotiation in terms of which canning method to use when canning plain beets. Beetroots are a low acid vegetable, so to can them safely, you absolutely have to use the pressure canning method. A water bath canner cannot reach the same temperature as a pressure canner, so it is safe only to can low acid foods such as beets in a pressure canner.
The water bath method of canning is only applicable when you are canning high acid fruits and vegetables. If you want to use the water bath technique for canning beets, it is possible if you are planning to can pickled beets.
The sections below describe both canning methods, a pressure canner technique for canning plain beets and the water bath technique for canning pickled beets. So read on!
Supplies for Canning
You need about 21 pounds of beets with their tops cut off, which will give you about 7 quarts of canned beets. When you are ready to can the beets, wash them in plenty of water to get rid of all traces of dirt. You can use a vegetable scrubber to make this process easier.
We need 7 quart-sized jars or 14 pint-sized jars for canning for both the canning methods below. Make sure you use heavy-duty jars for canning that can withstand the canning process. Get your canning jars, lids, and rings ready by washing them thoroughly. Boil the lids in hot water for 3 – 5 minutes and leave them until you are ready to use them. Once your canning jars have been washed, leave them in the oven or dishwasher so that they stay warm until you are ready to fill them.
Your canning liquid will vary depending on whether you are canning the beets, plain or canning pickled ones. For canning plain beets, place a kettle of water on the stove and let it come up to a boil. Remember that the canning liquid should be hot when adding it to your jars. For canning pickled beets, you can prepare the brine for pickling the beets. This brine will act as our canning liquid.
Using canning salt is an optional step for canning plain beets. Many people prefer to use the salt directly when using the canned beets, but you can also add some salt when canning. You will need 1 teaspoon of canning salt for a quart-sized jar and ½ teaspoon for pints. If you do use salt, make sure you use canning salt and not table salt to prevent clouding.
Preparing the Beets for Canning
Before moving to the canning process, your beets need to be prepped for pressure canning and water bath canning methods.
Start by boiling some water in a large stockpot. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare your beets by trimming their tops off, leaving them with about 2 inches of stem. Leaving the root and stems attached to the beets will help reduce their color from bleeding.
Once the water has come up to a boil, add the prepared beets to the water carefully. The beets will need to boil in the water for 25-30 minutes, depending on their size.
Test the beets by lightly scraping their skin with a fork. If the peel comes off easily, they are done boiling and can be removed. Try to boil similarly sized beets in one batch so that they require the same amount of time in the water.
Remove the beets from the water using a large slotted spoon and let them cool until you can handle them but are still quite warm. Peel the skins from the beets and trim off their stems and roots.
Now, you can chop them into smaller pieces that are ½ inch in thickness. You can cube or slice the beets according to your preference. If you are canning baby beets, you can even can them whole.
Canning Plain Beets
When your beets are ready for canning, remove the jars from the oven. Place a funnel on top of the jar you are filling and start packing the beets. Be sure to main 1-inch headspace in all the jars.
Next, use the water you boiled as canning liquid and top off all the canning jars. Ensure that you fill hot beets and hot water into the warm canning jars. A drastic temperature change can cause the glass jar to explode.
Using a debubbler, get rid of any air pockets present in the canning jars. If needed, add a few more beets and canning liquid to the canning jars to maintain the 1-inch headspace.
Once your jars are all ready, wipe their rims with a damp paper towel to clean any traces of beet juice. Use a magnetic lid lifter to lift the canning lids from the hot water and place them on your canning jars. Next, place your rings on the canning jars and twist them on so that they are just “finger-tip” tight. Your jars are now ready to be added to the pressure canner.
Get the pressure canner ready by adding a few inches of water to it and placing a rack on the bottom so that the jars don’t come in direct contact with the bottom of the canner.
Use jar tongs and carefully add the prepared jars to the canner, ensuring that none of them touch each other. Secure the lid to your canner and turn on the burner to high heat. Allow the canner to vent for at least 10 minutes until you see a steady stream of steam rising from it.
You can then place the weight on the canner and process it at 10 PSI for 30 minutes for pints and 35 minutes for quarts. Please note that the processing method may vary according to the type of pressure canner you are using, so follow the instructions in the canner handbook. The processing pressure will also vary according to your elevation. So don’t forget to adjust that as well.
Once the processing time is up, turn off the burner and let the pressure in the canner drop down to 0 naturally. When the pressure has released, you can open the lid to your canner and carefully remove the hot jars with the help of jar tongs.
Leave the processed jars undisturbed for at least 24 hours so that they can cool down. After which, you can remove their lids and label and date them before storing them in the pantry.
To can your pickled beets you can use the water bath technique for canning. Get a large stockpot ready that will act as your canner. Add enough water to fill the stockpot halfway and place it on the stove so that it can come to a boil.
While the water is coming to a boil, add your prepared beets into the canning jars, taking care to pack them in. Leave about 1-inch headspace.
Next, fill the jars with brine. If you are looking for a brine recipe, you can prepare a simple brine by adding equal proportions of water, distilled white vinegar, and water in a saucepan. For every 2 cups of water, add one teaspoon of salt. Let this brine come to a boil on the stove. Add the brine to your jars while hot and maintain the 1-inch headspace.
Use a debubbler to remove any air pockets and add some more brine or beets if needed. Clean the rims to your jars using a damp paper towel so that you can get a good seal. You can then use a lid lifter to place the lids on the canning jars before placing the rings and closing the lids so that they are just “finger-tip” tight.
Your jars are now ready to be added to the water bath. Use jar tongs to transfer the prepared pickled beet jars to the water bath and if needed, add water to the stockpot so that the water level is at least 1 inch over the jars.
Let the water come up to a boil and process the jars with the water boiling for 10 minutes. At the end of 10 minutes, you can remove the canning jars from the water bath and set them on a cooling rack for 24 hours so that they can cool.
Finally, remove the rings on the jars and test their seal. If the seal is good, you can label and date the jars before storing them in your pantry.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do canned beets last?
Beets can easily last in your pantry for 12 – 18 months when canned and stored properly. Ensure you inspect the canned jars periodically to ensure they are still sealed properly.
Can I can beets in a pressure cooker?
Plain beets must be pressure canned. Pressure canners and pressure cookers are two different pieces of equipment. Make sure the pressure cooker you are planning to use for canning has the capability to can food safely by reading its instruction manual.
Canning beets is a simple and valuable skill that will come in handy in the kitchen. It works as an excellent meal prep option and can simplify your lunches and dinners. Give this canning recipe a try, and you will be canning beets for years to come!. If you found this guide helpful, you may also enjoy some of our other canning guides here.
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