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Pickled Beets

Yield: Makes about 6 x 500 ml jars
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Processing Time: 30 Minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate

Pickled beets are a staple on most pantry shelves. Make them to suit your family’s tastes with the three spice blend options. You may find you need to adjust the intensity of the spices to meet your preference. Using whole baby beets is a thrifty alternative to cutting larger beets into chunks.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 cups (2500 ml) prepared beets
  • 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) white vinegar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) sugar
  • Spice mixture – choice of: traditional: 3 tbsp (45 ml) pickling spice; sweet blend: 2 cinnamon sticks, halved 10 whole cloves; caraway beets: 2 tbsp (25 ml) caraway seeds, 2 tsp (10 ml) black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS:

• Scrub beets, leaving root and 2 inches (5 cm) of stem intact to prevent bleeding. Place beets in a large saucepan; cover with water; bring to a boil; cover and simmer 20 to 40 minutes until beets test tender with fork.

• Place 6 clean 500 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside; heat SNAP LID® sealing discs in hot water, not boiling (180°F/82°C). Keep jars and lids sealing discs hot until ready to use.

• Tie chosen spice blend in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag. Combine with vinegar, water and sugar in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover and boil gently 15 minutes. Discard spice bag.

• Drain beets; rinse with cold water to cool; slip off the skins removing tap root and stems.

• If necessary, return pickling liquid to a boil. Pack beets into a hot jar to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of top of jar. Add hot pickling liquid to cover beets to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more beets and hot brine. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining beets and hot brine.

• When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 30 minutes.

• When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.

• After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.