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Preparing and Canning Pickled Vegetables

Pickled Beets

  • 7 lbs of 2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter beets
  • 4 cups vinegar (5 percent)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons canning or pickling salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 4 to 6 onions (2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter) if desired

Yield: About 8 pints

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes). Caution: Drain and discard liquid. Cool beets. Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins. Slice into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and thinly slice onions. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and fresh water. Put spices in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil. Add beets and onions. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag. Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing 1/2-inch headspace.

Adjust lids and process according to the recommendations in Table 1.

Variation: Pickled whole baby beets. Follow above directions but use beets that are 1- to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice. Onions may be omitted.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Pickled Beets in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 3,000 ft 3,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints or Quarts 30 min 35 40 45


This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.

Reviewed November 2009.

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