Canning beets begins by boiling and skinning the beets before hot-packing them into sterilized pint or quart jars. Leave baby beets whole and cut larger beets into 1/2-inch slices or cubes. Process the beets in a pressure canner for 30 - 35 minutes.
What is the Best Way to Preserve Beets?
Pressure canning is the best way to preserve beets for optimum flavor. Canned beetroots retain flavor longer than fresh, frozen, pickled, or dehydrated beets.
Pressure canning is the scientifically approved method of canning plain and roasted beets. Low-acid foods like beets must be canned using a pressure canner to reduce the risk of botulism, which may lead to death.
Pressure Canning Beets Guide
The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends using a pressure canner to can beets. Here are the step-by-step instructions for the process:
- Select white, golden, or red beets from your farm or grocery store. They should be freshly harvested, smooth-skinned, firm, and richly colored. The best beets are small beets under 2 inches in diameter.
- According to the NCHFP, you’ll need 13-1/2 pounds of root-free and destemmed beets per 9-pint jar canner load. If you use quart jars, have 21 pounds of similarly prepared beets for every 7-quart jar canner load.
- Prepare the canning equipment by washing the canning lids, jars, and ring bands in warm soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly and check for cracks.
- Submerge pint or quart jars in boiling water for 10 minutes to sterilize them. Keep them in hot water until you are ready to fill them with beets.
- Cut off the tops of the beets, leaving 1-2 inches of stem for easy handling. Leave the root intact to avoid bleeding. Wear gloves to avoid staining your hands, and scrub the beets with a vegetable brush under running cold water to remove dirt.
- Place the cleaned beets in a large pot and submerge them in boiling water. Boil beets until the skins start slipping off freely. This takes 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.
- As the beetroots boil, get the pressure canner ready. Place the canning rack inside and add 2-3 inches of hot water. Heat the water to 180°F for hot-packing beets.
- Boil a separate, large pot of fresh water.
- Take the beets out and cool them just enough to remove the skins. Cut off the remaining stems and roots. Leave baby beets whole. Cut the large beets into 1/2-inch slices or cubes or 1/4-inch pieces for very large beets.
- Load the beets into the hot jars, filling one jar at a time.
- Use a ladle and canning funnel to add boiling water into the jars leaving 1-inch headspace.
- If preferred, add 1/2 teaspoon of canning salt to each pint jar or one teaspoon to each quart jar.
- Remove air bubbles from the jars using an air bubble remover tool.
- Clean each jar rim by wiping it with a dampened paper towel. Center a new canning lid and ring band on each jar and fasten them until finger-tight.
- Use canning tongs to load each jar into the canner, ensuring the jars don’t touch each other.
- Close and lock the pressure canner lid. Open the canner steam vent and heat the canner on high heat for 20 minutes. Allow it to vent steam for 10 minutes.
- Close the steam vent and increase the pressure per your canner type and elevation:
Processing times per elevation for hot-pack beets in a dial-gauge pressure canner:
|Altitude (ft)||0 – 2,000||2,001 – 4,001||4,001 – 6,000||6,001 – 8,000|
|Pints (30 minutes)||11 lbs||12 lbs||13 lbs||14 lbs|
|Quarts (35 minutes)||11 lbs||12 lbs||13 lbs||14 lbs|
Processing times for hot-pack beets in a weighted-gauge pressure canner:
|Altitude (ft)||0 – 1,000||1,001 +|
|Pints (30 minutes)||10 lbs||15 lbs|
|Quarts (35 minutes)||10 lbs||15 lbs|
- Turn down the heat slightly when the canner reaches the corresponding pressure. Maintain this level and process pints for 30 minutes and quarts for 35 minutes.
- Stop the heat and let the canner cool away from the heat source. Let it depressurize to zero while the vent is still closed. Count five minutes after depressurization. Using an oven mitt, open the steam vent and canner lid, keeping your body safe at a distance.
- Use a jar lifter or canning tongs to lift out each jar. Do not tilt the jars or tighten the lids. Rest the jars on a towel-covered countertop away from drafts.
- Let the jars cool to room temperature for 12-24 hours.
- Remove the screw bands and check that each jar is sealed correctly. If the lid springs up when you press it down, reprocess that jar using a new lid within 24 hours. Alternatively, freeze it and consume the beets in 3-4 days.
- Store the properly sealed canned beets at room temperature in a cool, dark, dry place.
Does Pressure Canning Beets Make Them Too Soft?
Pressure-canned beets undergo a two-stage cooking process that softens them. The good thing is that they won’t get too soft. To prevent over-softening, cut large beets into large pieces, such as halves rather than quarters.
Can Beets Be Canned in a Water Bath?
Canning plain beets in a water bath isn’t recommended, but you may can pickled beets in a water bath canner.Print
How Long Does it Take to Can Beets?
It takes 30 minutes to process beets in pint jars and 35 minutes for quart jars in a pressure canner.
The entire canning process also includes:
- 30 minutes for prepping the beets and canning equipment.
- 20 minutes for preheating the canner until it steams.
- 10-15 minutes for venting the canner.
- 30-45 to naturally cool and depressurize the canner after processing.
- 5 minutes for any remaining steam to escape after you open the vent.
- 12-24 hours to naturally cool the jars.
How Long Does it Take to Can Pickled Beets?
The processing time for canning pickled beets in pint or quart jars in a boiling-water canner is 30-45 minutes, depending on your altitude. 30 minutes apply for 1,000 ft and below, and 45 minutes for locations above 6,000 feet. The total time for canning pickled beets is 1 hour 40 minutes.
Is Adding Canning Liquid Necessary for Canning Beets?
Yes, canning liquid is necessary. Beets should be packed into hot jars and topped with fresh boiling water.
How Long to Boil Canning Jars for Beets?
Canning jars for beets must be boiled for at least 10 minutes to sterilize them. Keep the jars hot until they are filled.
Do You Have to Blanch Beets Before Canning Them?
Blanching beets before canning is not necessary because they must be hot-packed. The traditional two-step blanching process requires dipping items in boiling water before submerging them in ice water to cool them. The ice bath interferes with hot packing.
To prep the beets for canning, submerge them in boiling water for 15-25 minutes until the skins start peeling off. Remove them from the water and naturally cool them to a point where you can comfortably peel them without burning your fingers.
How to Store Canned and Pickled Beets
Once you have safely pressure-canned fresh beets or water bath-canned pickled beets, store them at room temperature in a cool, dry, dark place away from direct heat and sunlight. Label the jars with the contents and date of canning or pickling.
Avoid direct contact between the jars to avoid possible cross-contamination, and do not tilt the jars. Store jars at least six inches off of the ground to avoid pests and temperature fluctuations.
How Long Can Canned Beets Be Stored?
Canned beets have a shelf life of 12-18 months at room temperature in a cool, dry place. Water bath-canned pickled beets have a shelf life of 12 months. Refrigerated pickled beets (no water bath canning after pickling) will last 1-3 months.
It’s best to use canned beets within 12 months and water bath-canned pickled beets within six months for the best flavor. Refrigerate after opening and use within 3-4 days.