Canning Love: Pickled Beets

Reader Contribution by Sherry Leverich Tucker
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 I really enjoy collecting vintage jars.  I love recycling to begin with, and finding a box of old jelly or pint jars at a yard sale or second-hand store is exciting!  It seems that canning jars often need a new home, and I am happy to give one to them!  I have gotten some very unique jars even at less of a cost than buying new ones in the store.  Pay attention to the integrity of an old jar, though.  Run a finger around the rim to make sure there isn’t any nicks.  Nicks on the glass rim will not allow a canning lid to seal.  Also, look for breaks, and also give thought to what they were actually used for.  If it is possible that they were used for anything other than canning edible items, I would not take a chance on using them that way myself. 

I found a beautiful geometrically molded canning jar that I decided to use for pickled beets.  In this special jar I packed only the small whole beets (the other jars were filled with larger cut-up beets).  This special jar filled with beautiful little ruby red pickled beets will be saved for the Thanksgiving Day table this fall. 

I have an old copy of the Kerr Home Canning and Freezing Book.  There are a lot of good pickled beet recipes out there, but this is the one I used for this batch, and it is just a good old-fashioned recipe.

Pickled Beets (Sweet)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 Tbls cinnamon

Select small, young beets.  Wash.  Leave 3 inches of tops on and roots.  Cook until skins slip easily (about 15 mins).  Put into cold water.  Remove skins, top and roots.  Mix together syrup ingredients and simmer.  Pack beets into jars to within 1/2 inch of top.  Pour boiling syrup over beets to within 1/2 inch of top of jar.  Process 30 minutes in Boiling Water Bath.

Beets grown to any size can be used for pickling.  The larger ones, of course, just have to be cut into chunks, but smaller ones (no larger than a golf-ball) can be left whole.  After making beets, just like other pickles, let set at least a couple of weeks to allow flavors to absorb.  So good!

picture:  The jar of just pickled beets in my vintage pint-size jar