Making Pickled Beets

Our family is very fond of eating the sweet pickled beets that we preserve from a recipe in Kerr Canning Book (now the Ball Canning Book). We like to grow beets that are a dark glossy red color and look beautiful when added to a veggie plate of celery and carrots sticks and clumps of cauliflower or just served in a dish on their own. Either way, place a pickle or salad fork with them for easy serving. Since we can them in the summer time, they are ready to remove from the pantry and take to the Thanksgiving dinner so all the Martins can enjoy them. I just remove the canning ring and pop the flat from the jar and they are ready to serve.

When you are gardening you soon find out that you can’t eat all the produce that just keeps growing. Then you try giving it to your friends and neighbors, but that doesn’t work either. Very few people know how to cook produce fresh from the garden if it isn’t the basic tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and potatoes. Few know what to do with beets freshly pulled from the garden.

Beets is one vegetable that is a little hard for a beginning cook.

Look at the rich color of these pickled beets. (photo by Virginia Allain)

Look at the rich color of these pickled beets. (photo by Gail Martin)

Difficulty: Moderate
Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Ball canning book (latest edition)
  • canning jars, lids, rings
  • beets from the garden
  • spices
  1. You should never cut the root of the beet and always leave an inch of the stems where the leaves were. That inch of stem needs to still be on the beets for cooking. If the beet is cut before cooking, the color will bleed out while cooking changing the pretty beet to an unappetizing looking beet.
  2. Wash the beets to remove any dirt.
  3. Cover whole beets and stems with hot water and boil for at least fifteen minutes for medium size beets. More time for bigger ones.
  4. Drain and add cold water, then slide the skin off. You can test one beet to see if the skin is ready to slide off.
  5. You can get your canning book from Ball (link below). By following the instruction in the canning book, add the spices, then fill the canning jars and place in a boiling water bath. We follow the directions carefully.
  6. When the specified time is up, set the hot packed jars on a towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough, you can hear the tin lid ping as it sucks down on the jar rim and is sealed.

Tips & Warnings

  •  Cooked beets can be sliced, salted and buttered to taste after boiling. I never can resist eating some right then.
  • We don’t wait to eat them just at Thanksgiving and at turkey time. We share the delightful taste of sweet pickled beets with our large family anytime we gather together. Keep them in your pantry for a quick side vegetable for any meal.
  •  You also can dice the beets and make a corn starch sauce with a dash of sugar and couple of tablespoons of vinegar and butter to make Harvard beets.

(Written by Gail Lee Martin and first published in 2008 on eHow)

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