Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, beets are a healthy and delightfully colorful wintertime veggie. (Did you know that Betanin, often used in industrial food production as red food coloring, is from beet root?) Beets are easily roasted, baked, or steamed into a fresh side dish, and there are even more options for preserving them.
Here are a few ways we recommend to preserve those bright and beautiful beets:
If you’re not up for canning, then you can simply freeze beets. Select tender, young beets (ideally 1 to 2 inches diameter) and wash them then sort them according to size. Trim their leafy tops, leaving ½ inch of stems and tap root to prevent the color from bleeding out during cooking. Boil the beets until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes for small beets and 45 to 50 minutes for medium beets. Cool the cooked beets immediately in cold water then peel, remove stem and tap root, and cut into slices or cubes. Leave 1/2-inch headspace in the freezer containers as you pack them, then place in a freezer.
Beets can also be preserved by pressure canning them in pint or quart size jars. For a full canner load of 9 pints use about 13.5 pounds and for a canner load of 7 quarts use about 21 pounds. Remember, those amounts are averages, obtained by weighing the beets without tops, and there will be natural variance in actual quantities. You will remove skins before canning the beets; to do so, trim off beet tops, leaving an inch of stem and roots (you’ll cut these off later), scrub the beets, boil them for 15 to 25 minutes depending on size, and then cool them just enough to handle without burning yourself, and remove their skins, tops and roots. The beets should remain warm or hot going into the jars. Baby beets can be left whole, but medium or large beets need to be cut into 1/2-inch cubes or slices. Add one teaspoon salt per quart jar if you like, then fill the jars with the hot beets. Add fresh hot water that has been brought to a boil first (not the water you used to boil the beets with), leaving 1-inch headspace. Process pints for 30 minutes and quarts for 35 minutes in a pressure canner, making altitude adjustments as required in the tables here.
If you prefer boiling water canning and want to try something with more flavor, then try one of our pickled beet recipes. Pickled Beets are highlighted with the flavors of sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and onions (optional) and No Sugar Added Pickled Beets are almost the same, except that the sugar is replaced with a sucralose sweetener.