Intro: Aunt Bea's Best Beets
I can a small batch of Pickled Beets every summer.. A couple of summers ago my local farmers market starting selling beets by the bushel, silly me I figured I was going to pickle them all - what do you need 20 quarts of pickled beets for? As the beets were cooking .. the aroma was so enticing, made me hungry, I wondered what cooked beets tasted like, I tried one.................yumm, asked my husband if he liked cooked beets - he did. I canned 9 pints of pickled beets and 12 quarts of canned beets.
In the winter when you open a jar, the beets taste MUCH better than any store-bought canned beets, especially with a little bit of butter on them. They go really great with Perogies and sauerkraut!!
Word of Caution!!
Pressure canning is the only safe method for home canning vegetables. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning in low-acid foods, such as vegetables. The bacterial spores are destroyed only when the vegetables are processed in a pressure canner at 240 degrees Fahrenheit (F) for the correct amount of time.
Step 1: Getting Ready
What you Need
Jar seals and rings
Pressure canner - 22 quart size
The size of jar you need will depend on how many servings you want to can
Quart jars will serve 4 people, pint jars will serve 2 people
How Many Beets?
An average of 21 pounds (without tops) is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel (without tops) weighs 52 pounds and yields 15 to 20 quarts/litres--an average of 3 pounds per quart
I can 3/4 of my beets in pint jars and the rest in quart jars.
Step 2: The How To's - Step One
Wash your beets. Cut the stems to about 2 inches, and leave on the tap root.
This will help keep the color when you boil the beets to loosen the skins.
Cook beets in simmering water until beets are tender and skins will slip off.
This will take a while 30 to 40 minutes. An easy way to see if your beets are ready is to scrape a spoon against the beets while cooking. When the skins scrape off easily they are done.
If you have a variety of sizes of beets sort them according to size. Cook those of similar size together. The larger ones will take a little longer to loosen the skins.
Plunge beets in to cool water once they are cooked, this stops the cooking and makes for easier.
Step 3: Getting Ready to Can
After all the beets are skinned, slice or cube – depending on our preference.
I slice most of mine, they present better on the plate. I do cube some of the jars for stews, soups or salads.
Step 4: Pack the Beets in Hot Clean Sterilzed Jars
Now that you have sliced or chopped all the beets they need to be packed in jars.
I use 1 teaspoon of salt per quart jar and 1/2 teaspoon salt per pint jar. I use sea salt, but you can use regular table salt. Do not using canning salt - your beets will be too salty.
Pack the beets in the jars tightly, leaving 1 inch head space, filling with boiling water, put sealer and ring on jars, tighten – finger tight only.
Step 5: Ready to Process
After all the jars are filled and sealed place in the pressure canner – make sure there is 2 to 3 inches of hot water in the bottom – I add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar as well – keeps hard water spots off the jars.
If you are doing pints in a 22 quart pressure canner – you can process 2 layers of jars.
Quart jars - only 1 layer in 22 quart pressure canner -there are larger canners on the market that will take 2 layers of quarts - but I would find that a little too heavy to move off the stove.
Place the lid on the pressure canner – ensure it is sealed, if you are using a weighted pressure canner put the 15 lb weight on the canner. Turn the burner on to high. Once the canner gets up to pressure – dial gauge 15 lbs, the weighted gauge will start to jiggle when it is up to pressure.
Once pressure has been reached turn down to medium-high to maintain the 15 lb pressure.
Step 6: Done!
Once the process time is done – turn off the burner, move the canner gently to another burner so it can cool down an release pressure – will take about 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the lid carefully.
Lift jars out with jar lifter and tea towel (they will be wet) Place on a towel covered surface – out of draft to cool. Leave them there for 24 hours.
As they start to cool they will seal – you should hear the seals popping!!