Beets

Tasty with informal sandwich lunches, a good accompaniment for beef dishes, such as Beef and Noodles, Chicken-Fried Steak, and Rib Roast. Pickled beets are also an excellent relish tray item. If you’re growing your own beets, making up a few batches of pickled beets can make sure none of those yummy root veggies go to waste.

Pickled Beets

Makes about 5 pints

Ingredients

5 pounds medium (about 1½ to 2 inches in diameter), trimmed and peeled, fresh beets
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar (5 percent acidity)
1 cup distilled water
3 2-inch pieces stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice

Directions

Trim away a portion of the stems and roots of the beets, leaving on the beets 1 inch of the stems and 1 inch of the roots to prevent bleeding. Using a vegetable brush, scrub the trimmed beets well.

Place the beets in an 8-quart, heavybottomed, stainless steel kettle. add fresh water to cover the beets. Cover the kettle. Over high heat, bring the beets to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook the beets at a low boil until just tender (about 25 minutes). Drain the beets, discarding the cooking liquid.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, trim off the ends and slip off the skins. Using the fluted arm of an egg slicer, slice the beets ¼ inch thick and place them in a flat-bottomed, glass dish; set aside.

In a clean, 8-quart, heavy-bottomed, stainless steel kettle, place the sugar, vinegar, and distilled water; stir to combine. add the stick cinnamon. Tie the cloves and allspice in a cheesecloth bag and add to the vinegar mixture. Over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. add the sliced beets. Return the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer the sliced beets, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring intermittently using a wooden mixing spoon to help prevent cutting the beets.

Meanwhile, secure a piece of damp cotton flannel, napped side up, in a sieve over a deep pan; set aside.

Remove the sliced beets from the heat. Remove and discard the stick cinnamon and cheesecloth bag; let stand.

Drain hot, sterilized, pint jars, upside down, on a clean tea towel.

Pack the sliced beets (without liquid) into the drained jars, leaving ½-inch headspace; let stand.

Pour the hot beet liquid (from the kettle) over the cotton flannel in the sieve to strain. Pour the strained beet liquid into a stainless steel saucepan. Over high heat, bring the beet liquid to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Using a 1-cup measuring cup with a pouring spout, cover the sliced beets in the jars with the hot beet liquid, maintaining ½-inch headspace.

Using a plastic knife or a narrow, rubber spatula, remove the air bubbles in the jars. Then, check the headspace in each jar and if necessary, add additional hot beet liquid to maintain ½-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and threads.

Place hot, metal lids on the jars and screw the bands firmly.

Process in a boiling-water canner for the time shown in the processing times chart at the end of this recipe.

Remove the jars from the canner and place them on a dry, wooden board that has been covered with a tea towel. Let the jars stand, undisturbed, 12 hours to cool completely.

Canning Processing Times

For Half-Pint Jar Sizes
Altitude of Canning Location
0 to 1,001 ft: 5 minutes
1,000 ft to 6,000 ft: 10 minutes
6,000 ft+ : 15 minutes

Got the canning bug? Make up a batch of Blueberry Jam!

Recipe courtesy of Blue Ribbon Country Canning Cookbook by Diane Roupe.

Photos by Erin Scott (Egg & Dart Press, 2013)