Pickled red beets are a nostalgic food for me. Growing up in the old order Amish we always canned pickled beets in the summer to have them on hand for the Sunday after church fellowship lunch. Pickled beets, peanut butter spread, fresh homemade bread, cup cheese spread pickles and Apple Shnitz pie were all staples of the meal which we enjoyed on long rows of wooden, backless benches.
Disclaimer: Instructions given for canning these red beets are a general guide based on how my family and in-laws canned pickled beets for decades. Use the hot water bath canning method at your own risk.
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Amish Pickled Red Beets (only 3 ingredients!)
- Large Canning pot (linked below)
- Jar lifter (linked below)
- Pint Jars (linked below)
- Canning Funnel (linked below)
- 8 pounds red beets tops and roots removed
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Wash the red beets well and cube if the beets are large. Place the prepared beets into a large pot and cover with water. Cook for 40-50 minutes until soft, then remove from the pot and reserve 2 cups of the beet juice. *see note. Allow the beets to cool, then remove the skins.
- Pack the red beets into sanitized pint jars, leaving an inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Place the reserved beet juice, sugar and vinegar into a medium sized pot and stir to combine. Bring the brine to a boil, while stirring constantly. Once the brine has reached a full rolling boil and the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat.
- Pour 1/2 cup of brine (may need more or less) over the packed red beets, again leaving an inch of headspace. Clean the rims of the jars and place a lid with a ring on top of each jar, twisting the rings to tighten. Place the jars into a large canning pot and cover with warm water allowing an inch of headspace on the jars. Bring to a full rolling boil and process for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the canner with a jar lifter, then place several inches apart on a tea towel. Allow the jars to set without moving for 18-24 hours. If a jar does not seal within the first several hours, it will need to be kept refrigerated. Enjoy!
Equipment needed for these pickled red beets:
- Large canning pot A large canning pot is needed for processing these Amish pickled red beets.
- Jar lifter Using a jar lifter is the easiest and safest way to remove jars from a hot water bath. I definitely recommend using one for canning purposes!
- Pint jars Glass pint jars with sealable lids and rings are needed to pack the red beets and brine into.
- Jar funnel A jar funnel is handy for pouring brine into the jar and for preventing spills onto the rim of the jars, but is optional.
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Ingredients needed for these Amish Pickled Red Beets: Red beets, sugar and vinegar. Water will also be needed to cook the beets in and for making the beet juice.
What is the best size for canned red beets?
I personally prefer to let my beets get nice and big in the garden before canning them, mostly because they give a better yield if bigger, but also because peeling and processing smaller beets is a bit more tedious. However, some prefer the smaller bite sized beets because they look nicer in a jar and are more delicate to eat. All that to say, the size is up to you, just be sure to slice or cube the beets before packing them into jars if they are larger.
Step 1-2: Wash red beets and place into a large stockpot. Cover the beets with water and cook until soft (40-50 minutes). Remove the beets and allow to cool, reserving the beet juice. Peel the cooled red beets and pack tightly into pint jars, leaving and inch of head space on top. Combine 2 cups beet juice with vinegar and sugar, then bring to a full boil while stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.
Why sanitize the jars?
Having clean jars is very important to prevent bacteria inside the jars after they are filled and processed. It is also important to have the rims and lids of the jars squeeky clean and without dents or scratches before they are sealed or the jars will not seal properly.
Step 3: Pour the hot brine onto the packed red beets in the jars, then clean any spills from the rims. Immediately place the lids and rings on top and tighten, then process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Note* Fill the canner with warm water to prevent the hot jars from breaking, or bring the water to a simmer before adding the hot jars to their water bath.
Help! I’m new to hot water bath canning, where can I find more tips?
If you wish to read a more detailed post on hot water bath canning, with tips, supplies and more, check out How to Process Foods in a Water Bath Canner by The Spruce Eats.
Step 4: Remove the jars from the canner with a jar lifter, then place several inches apart on a tea towel. Allow the jars to set without moving for 18-24 hours. If a jar does not seal within the first several hours, it will need to be kept refrigerated. Enjoy!
How long will these pickled red beets last?
If properly sealed, these red beets will last for up to a year. Keep the sealed jars in a cool and clean environment for the best results. If a seal breaks it will need to be refrigerated immediately or discarded if discovered too late.
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