“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.” Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume.

This canning recipe is straight-forward. I do not add spices as I like the beet flavor and brine to be the stars. Eat these beets as a side dish, sliced in potato or green salads, on a cracker with a little goat cheese, on a charcuterie platter, or in Borscht. There are so many delicious ways to enjoy them.

You will need clean pint jars and closures, a boiling-water canner, rack, jar lifter, canning funnel, and wooden skewer

Preservation method: Waterbath canning

Difficulty Level: Easy

Pickled Beets

Makes about six pint jars

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

10 cups prepared beets (boiled until tender, 20-40 mins, drained, skins slipped off and removed, sliced or quartered depending on size)

Place rack in the bottom of a boiling water canner, then place empty jars on the rack. Add water to the jars and the canner until the jars are about two-thirds full. Cover the canner and bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Place lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Keep lids hot until ready to use.

In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine vinegar, water, and sugar. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes. Add beets and return mixture to a boil.

Using a slotted spoon, ladle beets into hot jars to within a generous 1/2″ of top of jar. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jar to cover beets, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if necessary by adding more hot liquid. Wipe rim with towel.

Apply lids and bands and adjust until fingertip tight. Place jars in boiling water canner.

When all jars are in the canner, adjust the water level in the canner so that it covers the jars by at least one inch. Cover the canner with a lid and bring water to a full rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling hard and continuously, begin counting the processing time of 30 minutes.

Once time is complete, turn off heat and let jars sit in canner an additional five minutes (this standing time allows the pressure inside the jars to stabilize and reduces the likelihood of liquid loss that could otherwise occur when the jars are removed.)

Remove jars and place on a kitchen towel-lined space. The towel will help reduce the chance of jar breakage. Do not dry the lids or jars at this point. You do not want to disturb the lids while the seals are being formed. Allow jars to cool for 24 hours before removing bands and wiping down jars. Date jars and store in a cool dry place for up to one year.

Recipe modified from “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving”