How do you can beets?
Canning is one of the food preservation methods that people use to have their foodstuffs for a long. The proper canning process of your beets can have them last for up to five years or more if unopened while still retaining their quality.
Being low acid vegetables, you need to have a pressure canner instead of a water bath canner. However, for pickled beets, you can still use the water bath canner since you can add acid in the form of vinegar in the process.
Pressure canners are more expensive, but they will serve you for a long time, as they are more durable, which justifies their high cost.
How to Prepare for Your Canning Procedure
To ensure you are well prepared for the canning process, ensure the following:
Cans and Lids Should not Be Dented
If this is not the first time you will be using the cans, make sure they are in good shape. Nevertheless, they should not be cracked or scratched off.
Ensure the top rings are in good shape and that they are not rusty. Dented rings may not provide the air-tight solution that you will be looking for when canning.
Get new lids that guarantee the seal is intact unless you are using rubber-type rings that can be reused repeatedly.
Get Pressure Canner
Beets being low acid, pressure canner works best. It takes lesser time, and it’s more energy efficient. Ensure the canner’s gauge is functional in advance, especially if you have not used it recently. Also, check the gasket to ensure it’s still functional and pliable.
Ensure the Beets are Best Quality
Canning will take up a bit of your time, so it’s best to ensure you are preserving the best. You want to have the best beets for your meals, always check their health.
Let the beets be fully mature. Young or unhealthy beets may ruin the whole process and end up with tasteless beets.
Canning needs to be done in a clean environment to avoid having microorganisms that ruin the procedure.
Before embarking on the canning procedure, ensure that these are spotlessly clean:
- Your hands
For the jars, it’s recommended that you boil and sterilize them in advance to eliminate any bacteria present that could alter the quality of your beets. It helps eliminate any botulism spores that could grow and affect your beets, especially with air contamination.
Once you have adhered to all the above, you can now begin the canning procedure.
Equipment and ingredients Necessary for the Canning Procedure
- Jars, lids, and rings
- Jar holder
- Cooking pot
- Salt 1 tablespoon
- Vinegar 2 cups
Choose the Beets
If you have not grown the beets in your garden, you need to be keen on the beets you choose when buying. Get the ones with their greens, skin, and roots intact. Loose skin that feels soft may not preserve well.
Clean the Beets
Wash thoroughly scrubbing with your hand, but if the organic dirt proves hard to get rid of, you can gently use the vegetable scrub. After washing, trim the greens and retain ½” inches on the tube as it helps prevent the red color from coming off.
Boil Your Beets
Place your beets in the cooking pot or saucepan and add water to the cover. Let the beets cook till tender, and the fork can go through. When using a pressure cooker, the beets may take 15 minutes. However, given the difference in size, the time each size takes may vary. You can consider boiling the different sizes separately if they are many.
Get rid of the water and let the beets cool off. Depending on the time on your hands, you may choose to cool them with iced water or allow them to cool off slowly in the refrigerator.
As your beets are cooling off, take this time to get your canner ready.
Skin and Slice
Peel off the skin of the beets gently; you can use a sharp knife in case of skinning by hand proves difficult. Cut the beets to your preferred size. In the meantime, you can be boiling water on the side that you will need for the next step. Add one tablespoon salt to the boiling water.
At this stage, you can have your protective gloves on to protect your hands from coloring.
Next, add the sliced beets to the jar and remember to allow a ½” headspace to cater to the expansion upon heating. Place the jars on the boiling water. Get rid of all the air using the air bubble remover or a spoon. Take caution not to burn yourself.
Cover and Heat
Cover all your jars tightly with the rings and tops. Using your jar holder, place the jars on your canner until it’s full. Ensure the water in your canner is 4” deep. Cover your canner with its lid and tighten.
Heat the canner and time. Mostly it may take around half an hour till it’s ready. Confirm the specifics from your canners manual to ensure you get it right.
Give the canner enough time to cool off. Don’t be in a hurry; the trick here is to indulge in another task to avoid the temptation of interfering with the canner before it cools off completely.
Remove the jars once the canner is cool and place them on your working top and allow them to cool off the entire night. In some instances, this may take up to 24 hours. Confirm that all your jars are properly sealed. If any of the jars are not properly sealed, you may have to repeat the sealing procedure. Ensure you label the containers properly with relevant details to guide you or any other user in the future. Avoid the temptation of tightening your jars with your hand.
Finally, at this point, you have preserved your beets to enjoy for all seasons through the year.
Canned beets possess the same nutritional value as when fresh, unlike other vegetables that lose their nutrients when canned. Given their many medicinal properties, consider replenishing your beets stock once you realize you are about to exhaust your canned stock, as beets are a great source of fiber and iron.