This recipe for Spiced Pickled Beets comes from guest poster Jen from the Our Food Project at the Halifax Ecology Action Centre! These beets are so delicious, you’ll eat the whole can!
Today I’m thrilled to have Jen Organ from the Our Food Project share one of her favourite canning recipes with you! I invited Jen to share her recipes because I strongly believe in the mission of the Our Food Project and the Ecology Action Centre. Located in Halifax, they focus on local, sustainable, accessible food for everyone, especially those who struggle with food and income insecurity. Jen’s passion is canning, which is a wonderful way to have local, inexpensive food year round! In fact, I’m over there right now, sharing my recipe for Parsnip and Celeriac Soup! Enjoy 🙂 – Cristina
As a (mostly) seasonal eater in the Maritimes, it’s usually around this time of year that that I begin to crave more variety and spice in my diet. I like root veggies, but they tend to collect in my fridge and get neglected as the winter months go by. Before I know it I’m scrambling for ways to use them up before they wither away.
Beets are my favourite. I love them grated raw over a salad, roasted to bring out their sweetness, or steamed. The best treat of all? Pickled beets. Most pickled beet recipes don’t require a lot of ingredients, and can add a surprising amount of flavor to meals (sprinkled over a salad or on a burger? Yes please!). Canning is a great way to preserve these root veggies and tuck them away for a year-round delight.
A Note on Home Canning:
In home canning, heat is applied to jars of food interrupting the natural decaying process and killing the microorganisms that cause food to spoil. The process also forces the air out of the jars, forming a vacuum seal that prevents any air or microorganisms from entering the jar, and allows the jars of food to be stored at room temperature for up to one year. Hot water bath canning is safe for high acid foods such as fruit, pickles, chutney, jam, salsa and tomatoes with added acid (lemon juice). It is not safe for low acid foods such as vegetables and meats without additional acid. Always follow an up-to-date canning recipe.
RECIPE: Spiced Pickled Beets
I’ve been known to devour a jar of these beets in one sitting – you may too after sampling this show stopping recipe:
- 7lbs small red beets (the smaller the sweeter)
- 5 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar (or honey)
- 5 tsp pickling salt
- 8tsp mustard seeds
- 8 whole star anise
- 8 whole cloves (one per jar)
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 4 tsp coriander seeds
- 4 tsp black peppercorns
- Wash and trim the end of beets.
- Boil beets until tender, 30 – 35min (a fork should be able to poke through, but not too easily)
- In the meantime, wash jars with hot, soapy water and rinse well. Place jars in the canner (or large, deep pot) with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, sterilizing the jars. Leave the jars in the canner until you are ready to fill them.
- Place the canning lids in a small bowl or pot and pour very hot water over them. Allow them to sit a few minutes in the water to soften until you are ready to use them.
- Place beets in bowl with cold water and let cool off for approx. 30 minutes
- Peel skins – they should slide off easily once cooled. Chop into byte size pieces.
- In a large pot, combine vinegar, salt, sugar, cinnamon stick, and water and bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Stir often until sugar has dissolved (about 5 min)
- Into each 500ml canning jar, place 1tsp mustard seeds, 1 clove, 1 star anise, ½ tsp peppercorns and coriander seeds.
- Pack the beets in the jar, leaving approximately 1 inch headspace (the space between the beets and the rim of the jar)
- Using a funnel, ladle the hot vinegar brine over the beets, leaving ½ headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a non-metallic utensil around the inside of the jar. Add more brine if necessary.
- Wipe the rim of the jar to remove any food spills. Place the snap lid and metal screw band on the jar, only finger tight.
- Cover with sterilized lids, only screw on lids until they are finger tight.
- Now you are ready to “process” the jars in the hot water bath. Place the filled jars into the canner of boiling water. Ensure that the water covers the jars by a minimum of 1inch. Process jars for 30minutes.
- Remove the jars from the canner without tilting. Do not tighten the screw bands or move the jars for a number of hours. You will likely hear a popping sound when the seal forms. You can test the seals by checking that the centre of the snap lid curves downward. Store your jars in a cool, dark place.
To learn more about canning, check out our resource, How to Can Your Harvest: a step-by-step guide including sample recipes.
Jen Organ, Community Food Programmer with The Our Food Project, Ecology Action Centre
The overarching goal of the Our Food Project is to strengthen communities’ relationship to food by helping to build what we call ‘positive food environments’. These are the physical and social spaces that help to normalize healthy eating by making it easier to grow, sell, and eat good food.