This recipe was given to chef Carole Greenwood by Levi Haynes, who kept it taped to a pantry shelf at his house.
Greenwood suggests using young, cooked beets for pickling. Her way of cooking them before the canning process: "Trim them and cook them in boiling salted water until tender but still slightly firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Slip the skins off and can them while they are still warm."
The beets need to cure for 2 to 3 weeks before serving. Refrigerate after opening.
Servings: 4 - 5 quarts
- 8 pounds small (3 inches in diameter) beets, trimmed, cooked, peeled and still warm (see recipe notes above)
- 10 cups cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- 10 cups sugar
- 8 to 10 whole cloves
- 4 to 5 cinnamon sticks
To prepare for canning: Wash 4 to 5 quart jars, their new lids and bands in hot soapy water (180 degrees); rinse well. Dry the bands; set aside. Sterilize the jars by boiling for 10 minutes. Heat the lids and bands in a saucepan of hot water, keeping them hot until ready to use. Do not boil the lids.
Fill the canner halfway with water. Preheat the water (140 degrees for raw-packed foods, 180 degrees for hot-packed foods) over medium heat.
Combine the vinegar and sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil to form a syrup, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside.
Pack the sterilized, still hot, quart-size jars with hot beets, then place 2 whole cloves and a cinnamon stick in each jar. Fill with the syrup, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
Use a nonreactive spatula or chopsticks to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and necks of the jars with a clean, damp cloth. Center a heated lid on each of the jars. Screw each band down evenly and loosely until a point of resistance is met (fingertip tight). Load the filled jars, fitted with lids, into the canner rack and use the handles to lower the rack into the water; or fill the canner, 1 jar at a time, with a jar lifter. Increase the heat to high until the water boils vigorously. Cover with the canner lid. Set a timer for 40 minutes. Add hot water as needed to keep the water level at least 1 inch above the jars. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle boil.
When the processing is complete, transfer the jars from the canner to sit upright on a clean dish towel to cool; do not retighten the bands. Let the jars cool on the towel for 12 to 24 hours.
When the jars are cool, test for a good seal by pressing the center of the lid. If the lid does not flex up and down, it is sealed. Label and store the jars in a cool, dark place for 2 to 3 weeks before serving. Refrigerate after opening.
From chef Carole Greenwood.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.