I have been craving beets. No clue why... and no, there is not a little one on the way. Last week at the Farmer's Market in Missoula, Montana I had the sole goal of getting some beets! I asked my mom who was committed to organic and homegrown practices as she knows the farmers there well. I carted my beets nine hours home to Wyoming!
In all honesty this is the very first time I have ever made pickled beets on my own! I got online and typed in Southern pickled beets and immediately thought "Why didn't I ask my Mama?" Every recipe I saw had cloves or cinnamon or some weird other spice... I did not grow up with spices in my beets! Thank goodness for moms! I got the recipe and got started!
5 pint size jars
6 bunches of beets
2 pints of vinegar
1 pint of water
2 pints of sugar
(for the vinegar "syrup")
Stainless steel cook pot
Canning water bath pot
I had a bit of vinegar "syrup" left over! The ratio is 2 parts vinegar, 1 part water, 2 parts sugar. Go ahead and get your syrup mixed and cooked on medium heat (until sugar is completely dissolved) so it is ready when you are ready to add it to the jars. Also make sure you have sterilized your jars per the manufacturers instructions and have them ready.
First clean your beets removing the tops and long root. Place in pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes or until beets are slightly tender.
Carefully peel each beet...Now way to make beet peelings look anything but messy! Try to be careful not to peel too much of the beet off :)
Cut the beets into whatever size you prefer for serving and eating. As you can see beets are a messy messy business so protect your counters and clothing. Next add beets to the jar.
Ladle vinegar syrup into the jars leaving a half inch of head space. Wipe all the vinegar and juice with a wet clean cloth and place the lids on.
Place jars in hot water bath (canning pot) and process fifteen minutes. Because I live at 6100 ft in altitude I am required to add 15 minutes to my water bath times. Make sure you research this properly for your altitude... for safety.
As you can see canning beats is easy. I hope to encourage you to try your hand at canning if you haven't as of yet. It is very rewarding and for me a great amount of fun. It also makes me feel connected to my southern heritage and all the women in my family I spent time with as a small child as they cooked and canned. It takes me back to a time of love and warmth, a time I hope my children will look back on in their child hoods and feel the same as I do.