The Beets are Ready

While beets are not the first harvest, they are the first harvest that I put up for the winter, so it was a sort of kickoff to the activities the rest of the summer and fall bring. I thinned the beets and canned seven pints of them pickled.

Canning beets is a job! After the beets were rinsed outdoors, I took them inside and cut the tops off an inch or more above the roots and put them in a big bowl of water. The beet roots got scrubbed then cooked. While they were cooking, I picked through and washed the beet greens and put them in a big pot to cook down for the freezer. I will can them later.

After that I got the canner, jars, lids and rings ready and when the beets were cooked, I slipped the skins and sliced them, then made a pan of syrup and poured over them. Everything was hot and ready by that time. Lids and rings were in their hot water, the big canner was heating up, the syrup was hot, the beets were hot and I was hot!  I tried to hurry to get them done before the heat of the day, but it just didn't work that way.

Anyway, here is the recipe I used for the syrup:

To 3/4 cup of white vinegar, add 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Mix it up and taste it, then adjust. More sugar can be added and a little more water (up to another cup). The vinegar is what allows it to be water bath canned; if you add more water than one cup you will have to pressure can. Three times this mixture should get you enough for four pints of beets.

To each pint jar, add 1/2 teaspoon of canning salt, then fill the jars with hot beets, add enough syrup to cover, wipe the rims, put on the lids and rings and adjust. Process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes, adjusting to your altitude.

There. The first beautiful jars of food ready for the pantry!

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