Canning Beets – Pickled, Spiced, and Easy!

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This canned beet recipe is the perfect addition to your winter pantry.  A wonderful side dish that goes great with almost any meal. This is a sweet pickled beet recipe; warm, earthy, a little tart, and tastes like a bite of fall.  Canning beets – pickled, spiced, and all that good stuff – is easier than you think. 

We have the complete guide to take you through all the steps so you can enjoy these wonderful root vegetables all through winter. 

Bright red pickled beets in a small glass bowl with a can of beets in the background.

How To Make The Best tasting pickled beets

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Start with the freshest beets you can get your hands on.  Or, as we often recommend, grow your own.  Beets are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in your garden or container and a great for long-term storage.

There are some varieties of beets that taste better canned than others. We absolutely love the variety “merlin” for our canned beets.  We also really love “Chioggia” for their candy-striped looks and mild earthy flavour.  Golden beets are another great option because they are far less likely to stain everything red while processing! 

You will want to use smaller to medium-sized beets for their texture. Larger beets are better for cold room long-term storage. Personally, I don’t like the texture larger beets impart on my pickled beets.

But you can use any beet you want for your canned beets, just make sure they are the freshest you can get your hands on.  Farmer’s markets in early fall are a great place to find fresh beets if you do not want to grow your own. 


Fresh picked beets from the garden.

Canning Sweet Beets Safely

Helpful Tip: We have a complete guide on safe canning practices that you should read if you are new to canning.

  • You must use a boiling water bath to pickle your beets safely.
  • You can also use a pressure canner. The recipe and times will be different for a pressure cooker, so be sure to seek a recipe specifically for pressure canning if that is what you use to preserve your beets.
  • Be sure to sterilize all your canning equipment, jars, canning lids, etc.
  • While making and pouring the brine, be aware that hot vinegar vapor is hard on the eyes and lungs! Don’t move your face over to smell; it’s a bad idea.

Protect your surfaces too!

And although not a safety recommendation – you should wear gloves, protect yourself and your surfaces from the red staining dye beets produce. I would not want to make this recipe on marble or wear my best blouse. I’ve actually used beets to naturally dye fabric and I can tell you that the dye holds in fabrics very well.


Ingredients required for Canned Beets

  • 10 cups gold or red beets (similar sizes, small to medium) about 6 pounds
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (we like apple cider vinegar best!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pickling salt 
  • 30 whole cloves  (Set aside 18 cloves for the jars)
  • 1 (3-inch/7.5-cm) cinnamon stick 
  • 1 medium onion sliced thin

I like canning beets pickled with cinnamon and cloves. The flavors are all earthy and warm and pair exceptionally well with beets! The onions are optional, if you don’t like onions feel free to leave them out!

Makes 3 quarts or 6 pints.

Peeled beets in a white bowl.

Prepping your Beets

Trim beets, leaving 1 inch of stem and tops, and scrub in cold water. Leaving the stem and tops will help minimize bleeding.

Bring beets to a boil in just enough water to cover them in a large pot of water. Reduce heat, and cook beets for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse and cool slightly. Trim off roots and beet tops and peel. Cut beets into ¼-inch cubes or slices. We prefer the slices for adding to sandwiches but chunks are better for salads.


Sliced beets in a white bowl.

Making the Vinegar brine

Stir together vinegar, sugar, water, salt, 12 cloves, and the cinnamon stick in stainless steel or enamelled pot. Bring mixture to a boil.


Prep The Mason Jars and Canner 

Sterilize the wide-mouth mason jars and lids by immersing them in boiling water for 5 minutes.


Packing & Canning Sweet pickled Beets

Place three cloves in the bottom of each jar. Pack beets and onion into a hot jar with a slotted spoon, leaving ½-inch (1 cm) headspace. Ladle hot brine over beet mixture, leaving ½-inch (1-cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim with a clean damp cloth. Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Repeat until all jars are filled.    


Canned beets jars filled with brine against a bright white background.

Processing the Jars of Pickled Beets

Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot or water bath canner and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the wide mouth mason jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 30 minutes.

Remove the jars with a lifter and place on a cooling rack for 24 hours. Leave the beets undisturbed at room temperature.  Once the beets have cooled and rested for 24 hours check the seals.  Jars are sealed if the lids are curved down.

Adjust processing time for elevation.


One of my beet jars didn’t seal, now what?

If any of the beets have not been sealed you can use them as refrigerator pickles. Leave the beets in the fridge for a week before using them. They will not be as good as pickled beets that had an opportunity to sit for a few months, but you can still eat them!


How long does this pickled beets recipe last once canned?

Processed and stored in a cool dark place your pickled beets will last for up to a year. Once opened they can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.

Slices of bright red pickled beets in a bowl against a bright white background.

Pickled Beets – All the uses!

These canned pickled beets make a great side dish to a summer bbq. They go very well with summer sides like macaroni salad, potato salad, and BBQ pork! They also taste wonderful in salads and go great on a charcuterie board. 


Are Pickled beets the same as Harvard beets?

Harvard beets are similar to pickled beets but how they are cooked but the finished product is a bit different. They both have sugar, vinegar, and warm spices, but Harvard beets are covered in a thick sweet, and tangy sauce, vs a pickle brine. Personally I prefer canning beets pickled rather than sauced, but everyone likes things their own way!

A bowl of sliced beets wth a half empty glass jar of pickled beets in the background.

Looking for More Ways to Preserve the Harvest?

Canning Beets - Pickled, Spiced, and Easy!

Canning Beets - Pickled, Spiced, and Easy!

Yield: 48
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 1 hour 10 minutes

This sweet pickled beet recipe is filled with warm spices and sweetness and makes the perfect pickled beets for salads and sides. You can keep these pickled beets for a year after canning.

Ingredients

  • 10 cups gold or red beets (similar sizes, small to medium) about 6 pounds
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (we like apple cider vinegar best!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pickling salt 
  • 30 whole cloves  ( Set aside 18 cloves for the jars)
  • 1 (3-inch/7.5-cm) cinnamon stick 
  • 1 medium onion sliced thin

Instructions

  1. Trim beets, leaving 1 inch of stem and tops, and scrub in cold water. Leaving the stem and tops will help minimize bleeding.
  2. Bring beets to a boil in a large stockpot filled with water. Reduce heat, and cook beets for 30 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse and cool slightly. Trim off roots and beet tops and peel—cut beets into ¼-inch slices.
  3. Stir together vinegar, sugar, water, salt, 12 whole cloves, and the cinnamon stick in stainless steel or enamelled pot. Bring mixture to a boil.
  4. Sterilize the wide-mouth mason jars and lids by immersing them in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
  5. Place 3 cloves in each jar.
  6. Pack beets and onion into a hot jar with a slotted spoon, leaving ½-inch (1-cm) headspace. Ladle hot brine over beet mixture, leaving ½-inch (1-cm) headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim with a clean damp cloth—Center lid on jar. Apply band, and adjust to fingertip-tight. Repeat until all jars are filled.    
  7. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot or water bath canner and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the wide mouth mason jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 30 minutes. (adjust your processing time for altitude)
  8. Remove jars from the water with a lifter and place on a cooling rack undisturbed for 24 hours. Leave the beets undisturbed at room temperature. Check the seals once the beets have cooled and rested for 24 hours. Jars are sealed if the lids are curved down.

Notes

Pickles are ready as soon as they are canned, but they taste better after a month in storage.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 20Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 4gNet Carbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Jessica, cloves as the spice “clove”. It’s spicy and aromatic, if you don’t have it on hand, you can find it easily at most grocery stores. Cheers!

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