Canned beets

How to can Beets: a full guide on Canning Beets

Beets are a colorful vegetable low in calories but rich in minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants. With an impressive list of health benefits, this red veggie has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. However, because of the distinct deep and earthy flavor, you either love beets or hate them. If you do like them, we have some good news for you.

Beets are a colorful vegetable low in calories but rich in minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants. With an impressive list of health benefits, this red veggie has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. However, because of the distinct deep and earthy flavor, you either love beets or hate them. If you do like them, we have some good news for you.

After all, canned beets are a delicacy, a healthy snack, or a side dish that you can enjoy all year round.

Despite being a rather time-consuming task, preparing canned beets is not as hard as you might think. It takes time, that’s true, but the process is not complicated. All you need (aside from beets) is a pressure canner, some jars, and a large pot. To make things even simpler, we put together this essential guide about canning beets.

If you are interested to learn more about the process and have some tips to achieve better results, keep reading this article.

How Many Beets Will You Need?

Beets

To start with, if you want to can vegetables, you’ll need to ensure they are of the best quality. Because it can be confusing to know the right quantities for canning veggies, here is a guideline you can use:

  • 9,5 kg (21 lbs) of beets make 7 liters of canned beets and fill 7 quarts.
  • 6 kg (13,5 lbs) of beets make 4,5 iters, filling 9 pints
  • 23,5 kg (52 lbs) of beets make from 15 to 20 liters of canned beets
  • for reference, ten medium raw beets with skin weigh more or less 2 kg

That said, if you want something less precise, you can respect to need about 1- 1,5 kg (approximately 2-3 lbs) every liter jar (or quart in the US) of canned beets.

The Procedure

  1. Start by trimming the stems of the beets off, to a minimum of 2 inches. Remember not to remove the roots, as it will help to maintain the characteristic purple color of beets even when canned. Even when following this tip, don’t be surprised if you notice some loss of color, as it is part of the canning procedure. After some time on the shelves, your beets will regain the original color.
  2. Thoroughly wash the beets under the water and scrub them, as there might be some dirt left on them.
  3. Place all of the washed beets in a large pot.
  4. Pour some boiling water into the pot and cook the veggies until they are tender. You know they are ready when you notice the skin naturally slips off. Usually, you’ll have to wait for around 20 to 45 minutes. Keep in mind that with smaller beets, the procedure will be much shorter than with big ones. Sort your beets according to their size and boil those of similar size together. You’ll ensure even cooking of all of your veggies.
  5. While the beets are cooking, get your jars and the pressure canner ready. Remember to leave at least 3 inches of hot water in your canner.
  6. Sterilize jars and lids
  7. Remove the cooked beets from the pot once ready and rinse them under cold water.
  8. When the beets are cool enough to handle, take the skins and all the spots off.
  9. Cut off the tops and roots as well.
  10. Chop the beets or slice them to the size you prefer. Keep in mind that smaller chunks can better fit jars.
  11. Add some salts to your jars. If you are using pints, half a teaspoon is more than enough, while one teaspoon will do for each quart.
  12. You can also add sugar, warm beet water, and vinegar for more taste. Here is where you’ll give the character you want for your canned beets! You can use your creativity or add 2 cups of sugar and 1 quart of vinegar for every ten beets. Before adding these extra ingredients to the jars, combine them in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Pour the mixture when still hot to keep all of the flavors.
  13. Make sure the jars are hot when placing beets and the extra ingredients inside. Leave at least 1-inch headspace before sealing the jars. Also, you should carefully remove any air bubbles. You can do so with a spatula or other plastic tools. Push down the beets into the jar and give it a gentle shake.
  14. DO NOT forget to wipe the rims of the jar and remove any dirt. Food particles or residues stuck between the jar and the lid might affect the seal and the safety of any canned food you prepare
  15. Place lids on your jar.
  16. Place your sealed jars in the pressure canner.

How To Use A Pressure Canner?

When it comes to canning beets, you should be familiar with the use of a pressure canner. The adjustments you’ll have to do will depend on the altitude at which you decide to can your food. For example, if you are below 1000 feet (300 meters), you should use the following settings: 10 lbs weighted gauge and 11 lbs dial gauge. For different altitudes, you’ll have to adjust the pressure.

It is much easier when you have a large pot and a rack. Add some water to the pot and place the rack on the bottom. While you wait for the water to boil, fill the container with as many jars as you can fit on it.

The processing time should be of around 30 minutes for pints (half-liter jars) and 35 minutes for quarts (1-liter jars). Even if the beets should be ready after 15-20 minutes, the extra time will ensure their safety for consumption set by the USDA.

Some Useful Tips

As you might have noticed, canning beets is not hard, only time-consuming! Also, depending on the quantities you have on hand, you might use tons of water and pots! Even if cooking beets in a pressure cooker won’t save you lots of time, it will save you resources such as water and cooking fuel. If you have beets of different sizes, consider to sort them according to size and process your veggies in batches. Avoid at all costs overcooking your beets.

Time will vary depending on how many beets you place in the pot, not only on the size. The more beets you cook at once, the more the time needed to cook them.

For what concerns coloring, you should expect canned beets to lose some color during the process. The reason for that is that the red pigments contained in the veggie (called betalains) are sensitive to high temperatures. Luckily, the reaction is often reversible. You’ll notice the color return to dark red after a few days after you stored them at room temperature. Despite the color loss, beets won’t lose their distinct flavor, so you won’t have to worry about that!

Choosing the best varieties for canning beets might be overwhelming: after all, these veggies look so similar to each other! Any beet will do the job, but if you are stuck, look for Detroit Dark Red and Formanova.

When you are cutting your beets, you should ensure to slice them thinly or to cut them in small cubes (no more than 1,5 inches or 1 cm long). Put some effort into chopping them uniformly.

Finally, choose only the best-quality veggies for canning. The color of the beets should be dark and even. If you notice brownish-red, white rings, or some areas with faded color, either cut them away or discard the beet.

The Bottom Line

If you enjoy plain beets, you’ll for sure fall in love with canned beets. Not only do these veggies make tasty and nutritious treats and side dishes: canning is also a way to preserve the food you love for longer.

If you love beets, you might want to get hold of them when they are in season (and cheaper). Buying in bulk might be beneficial to your wallet but hard to manage. To avoid waste and ensure you have access to delicious beets all year-round, the best solution is to can them. Because beets are becoming popular because of their nutrition values, you might have notices pickled beets in supermarkets. Unfortunately, pickled beets tend to be pricey. The good news is that you can easily make them at home with a pressure canner! As you can see, it is not hard!

Ensure you follow the instructions we provided you in this essential guide and make use of our tips. Last but not least, don’t get frustrated if the process takes too long: the result will be more than worth it!

Canned beets can be enjoyed on relish trays, added to your salads, as a snack, or as a delicious side dish: the possibilities are endless, use your creativity and enjoy these extremely nutritious veggies!

Be sure to also check out our post on how to can onions!

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