Growing up in Nova Scotia, my mom was big into canning and pickling. She doesn’t do it often these days, but I’ve continued the tradition. Canning is one of those things I do because I love the taste of homemade pickles, jams, jellies, relishes and salsas and because I love the process of it, not because it saves any money.
I love pickled beets, and make them every year.
This recipe is from the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving, a must have book for anyone who likes to can.
10 cups prepared beets
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp pickling spice
Scrub beets, leaving root and 2 inches of stem intact to prevent bleeding. Place beets in a large saucepan; cover with water; bring to a boil; cover and simmer 20 to 40 minutes until beets test tender with fork.
Tie spice blend in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag. Combine with vinegar, water and sugar in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover and boil gently 15 minutes. Discard spice bag. Drain beets; rinse with cold water to cool; slip off the skins removing tap root and stems.
Bernardin suggest you prepare your canning jars by keeping them in simmering water in your canner, while your new, unused lids (not the screw bands) are kept in hot (not boiling) water while you prepare the liquid. I never do this – instead I run the jars through a super hot rinse cycle in the dishwasher and keep the lids in hot water.
Pack beets into a hot jar to within 3/4 inch of top of jar. Add hot pickling liquid to cover beets to within 1/2 inch of top of jar. Use a wooden spoon to remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more beets and hot brine. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining beets and hot brine.
Put jars in canner. Ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch of water. Cover canner and return water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. I process the jars for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and turn off the element for a further 5 minutes.
When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place.