Canning Pickled Beets

Asked October 8, 2019, 1:16 PM EDT

Hi -- I'm asking about the recipe on page 87 of the Blue Book. I've made this recipe many times over, minus the spices. I am going to be canning up a couple of batches and I am thinking if I have a quart or more that I don't want to can how long they will last in the fridge. Thank you.

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

I am not sure what edition of the Ball Blue Book you are using so not sure if it is the same recipe that is in the latest edition of the Ball Blue book that is on pg. 91. Looking over the recipe it does not completely cook the beets before they are peeled and then puts the beets into the brine and processed. The USDA and the OSU Extension recipe cooks the beets until tender and then cooks them in the brine and then processes them for 30 minutes. This will tenderize the beets. The Ball recipe also has water in the recipe where as the USDA and OSU recipe is all vinegar. I am sure you will be safe in the refrigerator for several weeks or even a couple months, however you should keep an eye on them and if you notice any visible changes like getting soft and slimy, mold or fermentation then I would not consume.

Here is the recipe from OSU Extension and USDA National Center for Home Food Preservation

Preparing and Canning Pickled Vegetables

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 in Table 1.

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.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Pickled Beets in a boiling-water canner. Process Time at Altitudes of Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 30 minutes, 1,001 - 3,000 ft Pints and quarts 35 minutes.

If you have other questions you might like to call the OSU Food Preservation Hotline open M-F from 9 am-4pm until October 18. The number is 1-800-354-7319. Certified Master Food Preservers will be available to answer your calls.

Thanks for using Ask and Expert

Nellie Oehler