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How to Can Beets

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Ready to start preserving your spring harvest? Here’s everything  you need to learn to know how to can beets.

how to can beets

Isn’t it funny how kids seem to hate beets, but adults love them? At least, that’s been my experience.

I remember being a kids and insisting that beets were the worst. A family friend tried many times to get me to try them, and I wouldn’t. She loved them boiled, roasted, pickled – you name it. Kind of like Bubba loved shrimp.

One day I was helping her peel beets to can pickled beets and finally tried one on the sly. It was good, but I couldn’t admit it because I’d insisted that I hated them for so long. 😅

Anyway, my own kids don’t like beets very much either, but they do eat the occasional old fashioned pickled beet. It’s hard not to like those.

Why can beets?

One of the best things about canning your own beets is that it makes them an instant food. Making beets for one meal takes a lot of time – either steaming or canning. This way, you get all the cooking done at once.

This is really nice, especially for home gardeners. Beets are a fast growing early spring vegetable, and canning them is how you get your pantry shelves filled with no waste.

How to select beets for canning

a pile of beets on the table

Small beets – 1-2 inches in diameter – are the best quality for canning. They’ll hold their texture and flavor better.

However, there’s no reason to waste your larger beets. For the big ones, Slice them up to desirable sizes after they’re cooked and peeled.

Can you can raw beets?

Yes, but I don’t recommend it. It’s much easier to boil them first, so that the skins slip off easily. This way, it actually takes less time spent since peeling raw beets is not only messy, but is similar, time wise, to peeling potatoes.

Once the beets are boiled and peeled, you can decide whether you want to can plain beets, or make a pickling brine to can them in. I like to do some of both.

Ingredients for canning beets

As with many vegetable canning recipes, you only need three ingredients:

  • Beets
  • Salt
  • Water

If you want to pickled them, use pickling brine instead of water

Other tools needed for canning beets

If you’re planning to can, you probably already have the tools you need, but here’s a refresher.

  • Canning Jars. I usually can beets in pint jars, but there’s nothing stopping you from using quarts, or on the other end of the spectrum, half pints.
  • Canning Salt. You want to use a non-iodized salt for canning. Kosher salt works, and so does Redmond Real Salt.
  • Pressure canner. Unlike canning pickled beets, you need a pressure canner for plain beets since they’re a low acid food, and at more risk for harboring harmful bacteria. I like this canner for its simplicity.
  • Canning Lids. I usually use whatever lids come with the jars when they’re new, and then for replacement lids, I use Denali canning lids. They have a money-back guartantee, and virtually never fail me!

How to Can Beets

  1. Start by washing beets, and trimming greens. Don’t cut into the beets themselves, just the stems, but trim them close to fit more into the pot. You can save the greens to use in smoothies or salads.
    beets on a cutting board, trimming stems
  2. Completely cover beets with water in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Boil until beets are tender
  3. Drain beets, and rinse with cold water.</li> <li class=”p1″>Trim root end, and any remaining stems, and slip peelings from beets. Use a knife to loosen any stuck parts of the peelings.
    slipping peelings off of cooked beets
  4. Fill sterile canning jars with cooked, peeled beets leaving about a half inch of headspace, and top with 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint.
  5. Wipe rims if needed, and screw down rings and lids.
    jars of beets filled with salt and water, ready to can
  6. Pressure can quarts for 30 minutes, and pints for 25 minutes.

If you’re not familiar with using a pressure, see this guide.

Typically, for a 16 quart-sized canner, you’ll add 2 quarts of water to the bottom, add the canning rack, which seperates the jars from the direct heat source, and then add your prepared jars.

  1. Fit with lid, and heat until a steady stream of steam escapes the pressure valve.
  2. Set timer for ten minutes
  3. After the ten minutes is up, Close pressure valve, or add pressure weight (depending on your canner).
  4. Bring to ten pounds of pressure if you’re at 1,000 feet of elevation or below, or fifteen pounds of pressure if you’re at a higher elevation.
  5. Process pints for 25 minutes, or quarts for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat once the processing time is complete, and let return to zero pressure before opening lid.
  7. Once the pressure has dissipated, you can removed the jars from the canner if needed, being careful to protect the hot glass from drafts, or sudden cooling, by covering them with a towel.
  8. After 24 hours, check to make sure jars are sealed. Store jars in a cool place out of direct light.

Canned Beet Recipes

Personally, I like to serve beets just the way they are as a side, but they’re also great in a number of recipes!

Other recipes To Try

Print

How to Can Beets

  • Author: Elise New

Ingredients

Scale
  • Beets – 1 lb per pint, with tops trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint
  • Water

Tools needed:

Instructions

  1. Place beets in a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil
  2. Boil beets until fork tender – about 20 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and drain. Since in cold water until cool enough to handle
  4. Cut both stem and rot end off, and slip peelings from beets. They should slip right off, but if they’re not quite loose, use a paring knife to get them started
  5. Pack beets loosely into canning jars – cutting them to fit if needed
  6. Top with 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pint (one teaspoon per quart), and fill with fresh water leaving 1/2 inch of headspace
  7. Screw down lids and bands, and place in prepared pressure canner
  8. Heat pressure canner until steam escapes open valve
  9. Let steam escape for 10 minutes, then close valve
  10. Bring to 10lbs of pressure, and process for 30 minutes (quarts) or 25 minutes (pints)
  11. Remove from heat and let return to zero pressure before opening lid
  12. Let jars rest 24 hours before checking seals, then wash jars if needed, and store in a cool place out of direct sunlight

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2 Comments

  1. This story about your childhood aversion to beets and eventual discovery of their deliciousness is heartwarming and relatable. It’s a testament to the idea that sometimes we need to try things for ourselves to truly appreciate them. Your practical tips on selecting and canning beets make the process seem accessible and rewarding, especially for home gardeners looking to preserve their harvest efficiently.

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