Putting Up-Beets

1-dscn0407We picked a mess of beets yesterday.  Some were as large as a baseball.  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.

2-dscn0413First, cut off the greens.  Leave a couple of inches of stems attached.

3-dscn0415Wash them really well.  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.  It’s perfect.

You can also see why I do my canning outside.  I used the hose to wash the beets, and I’ve already made a huge mess on the deck.

4-dscn0416Sort the beets by size and cook in batches until the skins start to loosen.  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.

5-dscn0419Take the beets out of the pot and dunk into a bowl of cool water.  My least favorite aspect of this – peeling them.

6-dscn0420If I’ve timed this right, the stems pop right off and the peel slips off pretty easily.

7-dscn0418Almost done peeling.  Yum, those look good enough to eat.

8-dscn0004Set 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.

9-dscn0422Finally 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.

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2 Responses to “Putting Up-Beets”

  1. valerian Says:

    i love beets… i grew 5 varieties with different success, but i love them roasted with olive oil, garlic salt and balsamic vinegar. the tiny once i eat raw on a sandwich. and the greens… oh my! roasted greens are the best thing on the earth. in Central Europe people throw them to the chickens or to the compost. they do not know what i know :) .

  2. Gramma Greenjeans Says:

    I love beets cooked any way, but roasted are my favorite. And we use all our beet greens – in salads, as a side dish and in borscht. I’ll have to try them roasted. They are much too good for the chickens or the compost.