I’d been meaning to can for a while. My hesitation wasn’t that I was intimidated by the process as much as trying to manage it along with filming a video and taking photos. Even the simplest recipe becomes complex once you add on the “food blogging” factor.
When my friends at Whole Foods Market asked for a recipe, this was the perfect time to start! I modified a recipe I got from my friend Michael and the book he lent me, the Preservation Kitchen. Funny thing, I met Michael over Instagram because of, well, food photos. Go figure.
I want to make one important note here. I fudged on filling these jars up enough so don’t do as I do in this scenario. Make sure you see the note below on proper head space.
- 3 Pounds Golden Beets
- 2 Cups Red Wine Vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
- 1 Cup Red Wines
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/3 Cup Honey
- 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
- 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Black Peppercorns
- 8 Sprigs Thyme
- 4 Sprigs Rosemary
1. Canning has a lot of moving parts. But something that can really take the pressure off is the order in which you do things. It saves a lot of time. To start, let’s get your pot, fitted with a canning rack, filled with water. Then bring it to a low simmer.
2. While the water heating up, we are gonna get our beet on. Roast the 3 pounds of golden beets (with some olive oil and sea salt) covered, bake at 400 degrees for an hour until tender. Remove them from the oven and once they are cool, rub off the skins. Then cut the beets into 1/4-inch wedges and weigh out 2 1/2 pounds to pickle; eat the rest. #nomnom
3. As the beets are roasting, prepare the brine. In a small sauce pot add the following: 2 cups red wine vinegar (5% acidity), 1 cup red wine, 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup honey (sorry vegans!), 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon sea salt. Bring it to a boil and then keep it warm.
4. The water should be ready to prepare the jars. Set 4 pint jars on the canning rack. Leave the jars there until you are ready to fill them but don’t let the water get above a very low simmer. Keeping the jars warm prevents them from breaking when you fill them with hot fluids. Why does that sound dirty?
5. Take a small bowl and fill it with some of the hot water from the pot with the jars. Let it cool just a bit and then add the jar lids. This will soften up the rubber on the lids and better the seal. Also, you shouldn’t reuse lids as this can lead to insecure seals.
6. While the lids warm, remove the jars from the pot. Before packing them with beets and the brine, add the following to each jar: 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 2 thyme sprigs, and 1 rosemary sprig.
7. Now pack the jars with the beets and fill with brine, leaving 1/2 inch of space from the rim. As you will notice in the final photos, I did not get this totally right. If there is too much air space between the food and the lid, a discoloration in the top of the product may result. #doasIsay
8. Seal the jars with a warmed lid. When screwing on the canning ring, you want it to be snug but not over tightened. Don’t go all Hulk on it.
9. Now let’s process the jars. Add them back to the pot, placing them on the canning rack. Add enough water so the jars are covered by at least 1/2 of water. Bring it to a boil and then start the timer. Let them process for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let them cool for a few minutes in the bath before removing.
10. Remove them using a jar lifter, being careful not to tip the jars, and to then just set them out on a counter to fully cool. You know they are sealed when the top pops and you can no longer press down the indentation. But you can remove the jar ring and check the seal yourself, you should be able to hold the jar by the lid.
NOTE: For longer storage, store them without the rings… this prevents rust.