We picked a mess of beets yesterday.Â Some were as large as a baseball.Â We grow the Red Ace variety, which does very well for us and they stay very tender – even when they look like baseballs!
Time to do some canning.
First, cut off the greens.Â Leave a couple of inches of stems attached.
Wash them really well.Â I bought this mortar tub at Home Depot (a bargain at $4.87) for mixing concrete (someday I’ll get around to fixing the retaining wall behind the house), but it has been appropriated for washing vegetables.Â It’s perfect.
You can also see why I do my canning outside.Â I used the hose to wash the beets, and I’ve already made a huge mess on the deck.
Sort the beets by size and cook in batches until the skins start to loosen.Â We had so many beets to peel, we had two pots going most of the afternoon.
Large beets take about 40 minutes. Smaller ones about 30 minutes.
Take the beets out of the pot and dunk into a bowl of cool water.Â My least favorite aspect of this – peeling them.
If I’ve timed this right, the stems pop right off and the peel slips off pretty easily.
Almost done peeling.Â Yum, those look good enough to eat.
Set up the pressure canner and start slicing beets and filling canning jars.
It’s now 3:30 in the afternoon and I just got the first load in. It’s going to be a long day.
Each canner load takes 10 minutes to warm up, 10 minutes to vent the canner, 35 minutes to pressure can the batch, 30 minutes to cool down to zero pressure, 10 minutes to cool the jars before you can take them out. So I figure each load takes almost two hours from start (slicing and filling jars) to finish.
Good thing we have lights outside.
Finally finished about 9:30 last night.
But we have 15 jars of lovely, ruby-red goodness safely stocked for the winter. Oh, and I managed to sneak in a couple of quarts of BarBBQ Bill’s Dills in between canner loads.