Green City Garden Girl: Canning and Pickling Beets

Reader Contribution by Kylynn Hull
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KyLynn Hull is a stay-at-home mom and dabbles in many things including writing, urban farming and raising backyard chickens. She writes regularly for garden and food blog, Green City Garden Girl – Bound by the Seasons.

I love beets. When we started growing beets five years ago, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Just space the seeds so they have room to grow and watch the beets grow. Since then, we’ve experimented with golden beets and striped chioggia beets. So far, the standard “bull’s red” beets have prevailed in our garden.

Homegrown beets boast bold, rich colors. Photo By Darwin Bell/Courtesy Flickr.

Anytime you grow your own beets, you need to stock up on different ways to prepare them. Canned beets, pickled beets, roasted beets and raw beets–I love them any way. I add beets to salads and soups, and enjoy them simply roasted and sprinkled with blue cheese and hazelnuts. The super-nutritious baby greens from the beets are perfect in salads or sautéed in your favorite stir fry.

If you find yourself with an abundance of beets, don’t let them go to waste–preserve them to enjoy them year-round! Try this delicious recipe from my friends in Eastern Oregon.

Tip: For canning pickled beets, remember that 30 pounds of 3-5 inch diameter beets results in about 35 pints of canned pickled beets.

Label your canned, pickled beets and enjoy them year-round! Photo by adie reed/Courtesy Flickr.

Vinegar Mix
One batch serves about 8 pints

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 pint jars, lids and rings

1. Clean all jars and boil jar lids.

2. Cut the beet tops off, leaving two inches above the beet. Do not cut the roots because it limits bleeding; scrub them with a brush in cold water.

3. Cover beets with water and boil. Cook 2-3 inch beets for 20 minutes. Cook 4-5 inch beets for 30 minutes. Try to sort sizes in each batch.

4. Cooked beets will allow you to rub skin off with some easy effort. Take them out with a slotted spoon and cool in cold water for easy handling.

5. Once cooled, remove the peels and cut off the top and the bottom roots and wash beets in water before dicing.

6. Prepare vinegar mix by adding the spices and liquids in a pot and bring it to a boil while stirring. After it begins to boil, let it cool as you work on other steps. The beets will be packed cold so the vinegar mix should not be boiling hot.

7. Dice the beets into half-inch cubes and fill the pint jars within a half inch of the top.

8. Fill each jar with vinegar mix to cover beets leaving a half-inch head space.

9. Wipe rims, place lids and screw on rings. Put jars into the water bath canner covering the top of the jars by a half inch and bring to a boil for 30 minutes for pints.

10. Remove and let cool. Once cool, you may want to remove rings to rinse in hot, soapy water so it’s easier to remove at a later date. Store in a cool, dry area.

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