Thursday, July 5, 2012

Canning 101: Beets

We harvested about 20 lbs. of beets from our garden near the end of May. I really wanted to can some beets this year, so we planted a bunch. I was able to can both regular beets and beet pickles. Below is the method for canning regular vegetable beets. I will share the beet pickle recipe in a future post.
 I started by cleaning and trimming off all my greens. I did this outside so I had less mess in my kitchen. I had two little helpers munching away on beet greens the whole time. Not only did we get a lot of beets but we also came away with several bags of greens. Jacob and I have really grown to love beet greens. Once you have all your beets cleaned stick them in a stock pot and pre-cook them for about 15 to 25 minutes. You want to be able to poke a fork in them, and the skins will slip off easily. They will undergo further cooking when you pressure cook them.

You also want to make sure to leave about an inch of stem on the top and about an inch of the root. This makes it so your beet doesn't bleed out. :)

Once your beets are pre-cooked dump them into a colander and allow them to cool until you can handle them. As you can see from the photo the skins slip right off. Peel and trim your beets.
 Then dice or slice your beets however you like them, into clean jars. I did some diced and some sliced into circles. I will usually peel, trim, and then dice each beet into a jar, so I am only handling them once.

Once your jars are full of hot beets add 1 tsp. of salt per quart (if desired) and then fill the jars with fresh hot water, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Wipe bottle rims and put on lids and rings. Beets must be pressure canned because of their low acidity. Click here for appropriate pressure canning times and weights for your altitude. Be sure to follow the instructions for your pressure canner. To the right are my newly canned beets. From our 20 lbs of beets we got 5 pints of regular beets and 4 quarts of beet pickles, plus we had beets for dinner that night. Yum! In the next couple of weeks I will be posting how to make the beet pickles and also sharing one of my favorite beet recipes so be sure to check back.

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