Monday, September 12, 2011

How to make pickled beets

This is another recipe that my Aunt shared with me. I don't know if it's her own recipe or if she got it somewhere, but when she was teaching me to can, she gave me a ton of recipes to try. I've loved them all!

I prefer baby beets! When I can't find them, I'll slice up some medium sized ones. The larger ones don't taste very good. They are tough and woody. Either way, start with some fresh beets. If they are limp and mushy, compost them!

I don't own a scale and never have measured the amount of beets I use. I just take whatever I've got. I just make sure I have plenty of jars ready. I cook them, add the spices and start spooning into jars. If it looks like I need more brine, I simply make more. What ever is leftover, (I run out of canning jars) I simply take a regular Tupperware container or empty used pickle jar and store the leftovers in the refrigerator. They don't last but a few days, sometimes hours, in my house!

The brine is about enough for 8 pints, with the beets added to give you somewhat of an idea. I am just providing the recipe for the yummy brine and the rest is up to you! I love this recipe! I never grew up liking pickled beets but agreed to can them for a friend one year (he let me keep half of what I made) and the rest is history. Now I make this recipe whenever I can get a hold of beets!

About canning salt- It's worth it to use. One year I didn't and the things I canned had a funny taste and color to them. Harmless but grossed me out! lol I found that you can buy canning salt in the canning section but it's more expensive. In the baking aisle, specifically salt section, of your grocery store, you can usually find an even larger box of canning salt for half the cost. This is what I use:

Morton - Canning and Pickling Salt - 4-lb. Boxes (Pack of 2) At Walmart it costs me about a dollar, last time I checked. The other brand is about $3-4 for half the amount.

What you've been waiting for!

4 cups vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. canning salt (don't use regular. why not?
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 cloves

Feel free to halve the recipe or triple it depending on your amount.

Wash beets. Cut stems to about 2 inches and leave the tap root on. This will help keep the color of your beets when you cook them.

Cook until tender. (about 25-30 minutes) I poke with a knife to see if it's tender.

Cool. Either with a bowl of ice water or rinsing them under the faucet in a colander. Trim ends. Slip off skins. They will do so easily when they cool down. Cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Or if they are baby ones, leave whole. Put spices in cheesecloth.

Note-(I never seem to have cheesecloth on hand, so I just leave my spices in the pot. They don't bother me floating around the jar.)

Add to vinegar mixture. Bring to boil. Add beets. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove spices.

Fill jars to 1/2 inch headspace. Add more brine if necessary.

Water bath for 30 minutes, whether or not you used pints or quarts.


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