Asked August 20, 2018, 7:47 PM EDT

I canned beets for the first time this year, my husband says they taste ok, but are too hard ( like a Potato). How can I fix this? Would it be alright to pressure cook them, in the can for 20 minutes. They are all sealed, I hot bathed them at canning.

Edmonson County Kentucky

1 Response


The answer will depend on whether these are plain beets, with only water and salt added to the jar, or if they are pickled beets, with vinegar, sugar and other seasonings added. Plain beets, without added vinegar, must be pressure canned to be safe. Pickled beets may be safely processed in a boiling water canner. For both products, it is recommended to cook the beets before canning. If it has been less than 24 hours since the beets were processed, you can follow the directions below to reprocess the jars. Be sure to use new lids, even though the others sealed. Here are directions for both plain and pickled beets, from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Beets - Whole, Cubed or Sliced

Quantity: An average of 21 pounds (without tops) is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 13-1/2 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel (without tops) weighs 52 pounds and yields 15 to 20 quarts--an average of 3 pounds per quart.

Quality: Beets with a diameter of 1 to 2 inches are preferred for whole packs. Beets larger than 3 inches in diameter are often fibrous.

Please read Using Pressure Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Trim off beet tops, leaving an inch of stem and roots to reduce bleeding of color. Scrub well. Cover with boiling water. Boil until skins slip off easily; about 15 to 25 minutes depending on size. Cool just enough to handle without burning yourself, then remove skins, and trim off stems and roots. The beets should remain warm or hot going into the jars. Leave baby beets whole. Cut medium or large beets into 1/2-inch cubes or slices. Halve or quarter very large slices. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Fill jars with hot beets and fresh hot water that has been brought to a boil first (not the water you used to boil the beets with), leaving 1-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process following the recommendations below.

Hot packed beets, at 10 pounds pressure.

Pints: 30 minutes

Quarts: 35 minutes

This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.

Reviewed January 2015.

Pickled Beets

  • 7 lbs of 2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter beets

  • 4 cups vinegar (5 percent)

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons canning or pickling salt

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 12 whole cloves

  • 4 to 6 onions (2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter) if desired

    Yield: About 8 pints

    Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

    Procedure: Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes). Caution: Drain and discard liquid. Cool beets. Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins. Slice into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and thinly slice onions. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and fresh water. Put spices in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil. Add beets and onions. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag. Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing 1/2-inch headspace.

    Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations.

    Variation: Pickled whole baby beets. Follow above directions but use beets that are 1- to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice. Onions may be omitted.

Process hot packed pickled beets in a boiling water canner for 30 minutes, for both pints or quarts.

Please let me know if you have more questions!