Canning Beets

August 16, 2012

beetsBeets are one colorful vegetable. It might not be one of my favorites for eating but many people like them and want them canned for the winter months. Beets have to be canned in a pressure canner. If you haven't canned in one before, here is a list of the things that you might not have in your kitchen. You will need it all for your beets.


Canning Tools

Canning Beets

  1. You will need some big bowls and a big pot for boiling water. You will already have ladles. You might want salt for your beets. I personally don't add salt.

  2. Choose your beets. They need to be fresh and crisp. Remember that a canning jar is not a magic lantern. If you put a yucky beet in, you get a yucky beet out.

  3. Start with your jars. Put them through the dishwasher. When they are clean, flip on the heat cycle and let them stay hot.

  4. Get your hot water going. Clean out the canner and put about 3 to 4 inches of tap water in the canner. Get the big stockpot and fill it 2/3 up the side with water and put 6 quarts of hot water into a saucepan. Bring the stockpot and saucepan to a boil.

  5. Start beet prep by cutting off the top about an inch away from the beet. Also cut off the roots about that same length. This will stop the color from bleeding.

  6. Wash the beets and then put them into a pan and cook for about 45 minutes. It takes a while to soften the beets. Once they are soft, drain and drop into some ice water with ice cubes in the bowl. It should be easy to slip off the skin, the roots, and the stems.

  7. Cut the beets into the pieces that you prefer. Fill the jar with the beets. Many add some slices of onion to the beets. Leave about 1 inch of headspace in the top. Next pour the fresh boiling water over the beets. You still need the 1 inch headspace.

  8. As with all canning, push a plastic spatula down the side of the jar to break up air bubbles. You can also lean the spatula into the beets and toward the other side of the jar. Clean off the top of the jar. Add the lid and the rings to the jar.

  9. Fill the canner with the jars and put the lid on the canner. Leave the vents open and turn up the heat. There should be 3 or 4 inches of water in the bottom of the canner. Turn up the heat and let the canner vent for about 10 minutes.

  10. Put the weight on the pressure cooker and bring the pressure up to 10 pounds.

  11. Be sure to check the manufacturer's guide book that came with the pressure canner. If it gives other directions, follow the manufacturer's guide book. In this case, read the guidebook. Pressure needs care.

  12. Once the pressure is up to 10 pounds, turn on the timer for 35 minutes. Once it reaches 35 minutes, turn off the heat. Let the pressure go down on its own. Once it reaches no pressure, you may hear a click or sizzle.

  13. Once the pressure is down, open the canner and remove the jar. Use the Jar grabber and place the jars on a wooden cutting board or the thick towel on a level place. Don't let the jars touch. Let them cool and finish their sealing. By the next day, you can store them in a cool, dark place and have beets for winter.

By Mary

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4 Questions

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September 3, 2011

How do I can beets?

By Michelle


September 3, 20110 found this helpful

Go to your store and find the department that displays their canning jars and you should find a book for sale that is either produced by the Ball company or Kerr company. Those books are full of directions for canning all kinds of things. Or else you could google it and probably find the directions. I do know the first step is to scrub them, leave a couple inches of the stems on them and then cook them.


After they are cooked and cooled off, then you peel them. If you don't cook them before peeling and leaving part of the stems on, they will bleed(loose a lot of their color). I have never canned beets, but my late Mother used to make really good beet pickles and I learned about the bleeding bit from her. Incidentally beets don't smell real good during this step.

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September 4, 20110 found this helpful

If you want pickled beets, here is a easy how to. Wash jars and lids rinse let them sit in the hot water in the sink. Wash beets cut off ends cut into pieces microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes pack jars, add to each jar about a 1/2 tsp of mustard seed, 1/2 tsp celery seed.


Boil equal parts water, apple cider vinegar. Pour into jar make sure you wipe off the top of the jar if you get the brine (water and vinegar) on it. Put lid on screw cap on just till tight. Now wait till they start to pop. could take hours. The idea is to have it hot enough for the jar to seal.

Check each cap by pressing on it. If it is sealed it will not move or make a clicking sound. If some of your jars did not seal boil a pot of water add your jars to this and process for about 10 minutes this will seal the jars for sure. I add cauliflower, celery, onions, and sliced cucumbers to each jar. Great for giving as a gift. Good luck.

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September 7, 20110 found this helpful

Scrub and cut top to 1/2 in above beet. Place in large enough pot to accommodate the beets you plan to can. For a large amount put in 1/2 cup of sugar and cover with water. Boil till tender when pierced with fork. Allow to stand and most of the "grit" from beets will settle to bottom of pot. Dip about 2 cups of the beet water off the top of the beets and reserve to pour over the beets in the jar.

Pour into sink and drain, allowing to cool enough to slip skins and tops from the beets. Slice or quarter and put into jars. Put a pinch of salt and 1/4 teaspoon sugar into each jar. Cover beets with the reserved water.

Seasonings may be omitted and added when opened and used. Place lid and ring on each jar and hand tighten snug.

Place filled jars into pot large enough to cover the jars with the water. Boil for at least 10 minutes and take out of water and set on counter protected by newspaper or thick cloth and allow to cool. After 24 hrs remove the rings and set of shelf for later enjoyment.

I make Harvard beets from these or just add a little vinegar and substitute sugar for a meal. Some people like to add a little butter and whatever seasonings they prefer.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 172 Posts
December 19, 20110 found this helpful

You can follow the procedure everyone else has posted and if you want pickled sweet beets, here is a recipe that my late aunt gave me.

Mil's Beet Recipe

3 c. white vinegar
1 c. water
3 cups sugar
pinch of cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Put all together and bring to a boil. Put beets in syrup and bring to a boil again. Put in jars and add lids. Put them in a hot water bath with the water covering the jars and bring to boil. Leave in for 10 minutes.

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October 1, 2019

I canned pickled beets last week. I opened one today and they're slightly more crunchy than I like. They all sealed properly. Can I reprocess them to cook them a bit more? And if so, how would I do that?


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
October 1, 20190 found this helpful

I am only speaking from someone who got very sick from improperly canned items. If they are sealed and fine, just cook them better when you use them vs. trying to recook and re-can. Re-canning never works as planned and can cause dangerous situations. Safety first here!

I don't know if you like pickled beets on salads, but a local restaurant got me hooked on finely shaved, very crispy, pickled beets as a garnish on their harvest salad. OMG. SO YUMMY!!! Sounds like yours would be perfect for that.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
October 1, 20190 found this helpful

I would not. Cook that batch to desired tenderness on the stovetop.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 140 Posts
October 1, 20190 found this helpful

This is very risky! Reprocessing and putting back in jars is a safety issue after reprocessing(could make you sick)!

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March 30, 2012

How do I can harvard beets?

By Mac


March 31, 20120 found this helpful

Are you using home grown beets or already canned beets? Myself I would just can the homegrown beets following the normal directions, then when you get ready to have them for a meal, follow your harvard beets recipe.

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