Canning beets in your homestead kitchen is a great way to stock your pantry and make meal prep easier! Preserve the fresh taste and nutrition of your fresh beets by pressure-canning them. Still not sure about pressure canning? No worries, this tutorial will take you through the entire process, step-by-step!
Pressure canning is the method used for low-acid foods like vegetables, soups, meat and stews. Water-bath canning is used for high-acid foods like fruit.
Canning Beets: Pressure Canning vs. Water Bath Canning
Pressure canning is the only approved method of canning low-acid foods by the USDA.
Let me explain the difference between water-bath canning and pressure canning so that it will make sense to you.
Water-bath canning is for high-acid foods like fruit, jams and tomatoes. The water inside of a water-bath canner will rise to 212°, which is the boiling point for water. This is hot enough to kill the pathogens that are in high-acid foods.
However, when canning low-acid foods, like beets, there is more of a propensity for botulism and requires higher processing temperatures to kill the spores. Botulism is serious and can cause severe illness or even death. When processed properly at the correct temperature, the risk of food-borne illness is minimal.
This is accomplished with pressure canning, which produces temperatures up to 240°.
What is Hot-Pack?
When canning fruit, you can quite often pack your jars with the raw fruit, hence, “raw pack” because it doesn’t require any cooking prior to the canning process.
However, when canning beets (and most vegetables), you’ll often find that the starch content of vegetables will require some cooking before pressure-canning. This method is called “hot pack”, as you’ll pack the jars with a hot product.
What Canner Should I Use?
Any pressure canner will do. I have an older model of pressure canner and it works just fine.
I also invested in a Presto Digital Canner (NOT an Instant Pot) which I use frequently as well, especially when I’m in a hurry or canning a lot of food at one time.
What Supplies Do I Need for Canning Beets?
You need just a few basics: a pressure canner, complete jars and a few canning tools.
Canning Beets Recipe
When canning beets, you want to begin with the freshest beets you can find, preferably from your garden! Wash and cut off tops in the sink.
Next, peel the beets and give them another rinse. Some folks like to boil their beets and then slip the skins off, that’s ok if you prefer that method.
Cut the beets into the desired size, put them in a pot and cover them with one or two inches of water.
Boil your beets for 15-25 minutes.
In the meantime, wash your jars in hot, soapy water. Rinse and fill 1/3 with water and place into your open canner.
Turn the burner that your canner is sitting on to medium-medium high. You want your jars and your water to be hot to avoid cracks during processing.
When your beets are done cooking, drain them and rinse with cold water.
Using tongs, carefully lift your jars out of the open pressure canner, drain the water and line them up for processing.
At this point of canning beets, add salt if you desire. I like to add salt when canning vegetables, 1/2 tsp. for pints, 1 tsp. for quarts. Put your beets on top of the salt.
Meanwhile, heat up the water in a saucepan or whatever method you prefer. I like my hot water kettle.
Pour hot water over the beets, leaving 1″ of head space.
Using the end of a wooden spoon or another clean instrument, slide the spoon around the edges to release any air bubbles.
Wipe the rims with a clean cloth.
Place clean lids on the jars and then apply rings finger-tight. Never boil your lids, just make sure they are clean for pressure canning.
Isn’t canning beets fun???
Place the jars into your pressure canner, leaving room in between the jars for water flow. Water flow is very important when canning beets, or anything else, because the hot water helps to kill bacteria in the jars.
Put the lid on your pressure canner, making sure the lid is closed and locked.
Turn your burner on high and allow your canner to “vent”.
Venting is an important process when pressure canning, it allows all of the cool air to leave the canner and be replaced with hot air. Let your canner vent for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes have passed, put the pressure regulator on. About this time, your pressure valve should have popped up, indicating that your canner has fully vented.
At this point, you are waiting for the weight to start “jiggling”.
The very minute it starts to “jiggle”, set your timer. Pints will take 30 minutes, quarts take 35 minutes.
Turn the heat down slightly (I turn mine down from 10 to about 7) and wait for the weight to slow down and jiggle consistently. You don’t want to hear any hissing, if you do, turn the stove down a bit more. You want a slow, steady “jiggle”.
After canning beets a couple of times with your stove, it’ll be second nature to you.
When your processing time is complete, turn the timer and burner off and then slowly slide your canner off the heat.
Leave it alone at this point and let it cool down, waiting for the pressure valve to drop.
When the pressure valve drops, you may remove the weight. If you don’t hear any more hissing, then carefully remove the lid, pointing the lid/steam away from your face.
Let your jars rest for another 10 minutes, then remove the jars with your jar lifter. Set them on a towel on the counter to cool. You will want to tighten the rings if needed, until the lids seal.
Listen for the “pings” that your jars make, this means that they are sealed!
You did it! Canning red beets in a pressure canner is a lot of fun and a great addition to your food pantry!