Pickled beet safety

Asked September 20, 2015, 9:14 AM EDT

We pickled some beets yesterday using a recipe online that had numerous reviews. The recipe said to use some of the water from boiling the beets in the vinegar solution. I did this and water bath processed for 30 minutes. Now today as I am reading other recipes I am finding them advising tossing the beet water and not using it. Also I did not cook my onions before adding them along with hot peppers to the beet jar. What would be your thoughts on this preparation? Do I need to toss my pickled beets due to safety?

Waukesha County Wisconsin

4 Responses

Thank you for your question! According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, you do need to drain and discard the liquid that you cooked the beets in. Keeping this liquid in the jars weakens the pickling solution, so the beets will not be safe to eat. You will need to discard the pickled beets you made. Click here for more information - this website has lots of information on safe food preservation. The onions should also be cooked before adding to the jar.
I hope this is helpful!

As a follow up to what Laura said, it is very important to discard the liquid the beets were cooked in. A recipe for pickled beets found in So Easy to Preserve, a canning cook book published by The University of Georgia Extension, includes a statement addressing this step.

Following the directions for cooking the beets it says, "CAUTION: Drain and discard liquid." An additional step for directions after combining seasonings, vinegar, water, spices and bringing to a boil states, "Add beets and onion. Simmer 5 minutes." Therefore cooking the onion is necessary as well.

Food safety is extremely important when preserving foods at home. Using recipes tested and provided by trusted sources can alleviate all doubts and save you time. Your local Extension office is also a great resource offering helpful information on this topic.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of So Easy to Preserve you can seek information at these websites: www.soeasytopreserve.com, www.homefoodpreservation.com and www.gafamilies.com

Mona Glover

Clermont County Extension, The Ohio State University

Thank you for the quick reply. The beets have been discarded as per your advice and we will use the suggested site/link for future canning projects.

I am happy to learn that you discarded the beets and now have the resources to use that are safe. Food safety is #1 when it comes to home food preservation.
Happy, Safe Food Preservation,