Canned Beets Recipe: Easy and Not Pickled

Learn the easy way to can plain beets with this easy recipe. Good news! You won’t have to cook the beets for hours when you follow these simple tips for canning beets the easy way. What is the difference between canned beets and pickled beets? Pickled beets are canned in some type of vinegar solution and are usually used in salads. These beets are not pickled, just canned in water, and the ingredients are very basic. As a home gardener who has been canning produce for over 20 years, I’ve tried many different beet-canning techniques. Find out the best way to peel beets to prepare them for canning with less mess. Ready to learn how to make this canned beets recipe? Let’s get started!

canned beets in jars

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The Easy Canned Beets Recipe Backstory

I have always loved to eat canned plain beets. I like pickled beets as well, but plain beets have a buttery flavor that complements many main dishes. Where I live, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, beets grow well. If I every have a year when my vegetable garden struggles, I can still count on beets to come through. For years I avoided canning them because peeling them was such a messy hassle. No more! Now I’ve discovered the secret to canning beets with less mess, I will never go back to the old way. If you can relate, keep reading.

Easy Canned Beets Equipment

If you want to learn how to can beets the easy way, there are some things that will make it a lot simpler and less messy. Just as when I make my easy home canned salsa recipe, I wouldn’t attempt this recipe without the following items, which are essential to a smooth canning process. The first item is my trusty 22-quart Pressure Canner and Cooker. With this, I can process up to 7 quarts of beets at one time.

The second essential item is my 5-Piece Home Canning Kit, which I have had for at least 20 years. I dreaded canning before I made this purchase because I made such a mess all over the kitchen. The tools in the set, especially the funnel, have cut down on the canning mess immensely. I am also able to safely handle the hot jars using the tongs, lid lifter, jar wrench, and jar lifter. I would have given up canning long ago were it not for these tools. They have made that much of a difference.

You’ll also need canning jars and lids, which you can buy together. I prefer to use the wide-mouth jars since my home canned beets are usually left whole or cut into large chunks.

If you already have jars and screw bands, you can also just buy more lids.

To steam the beets in the microwave to slip the skins off, use a covered casserole dish. I’ve had one like this for over 25 years and use it all the time.

You will also need a large (at least 6 quart) stockpot for boiling the water to add to the canning jars.

Easy Canned Beets Ingredients

These ingredients could not be simpler. How many pounds of beets are needed to make seven quarts of canned beets? According to the National Center for Home Preservation website, about 21 pounds of fresh beets without tops are needed. I like to leave about an inch of the tops on to help the beets retain more nutrients. If the tops are cut off, more nutrients could be cooked out when the steaming process is happening. So, with about an inch of the tops left on, the weight would be closer to 22 pounds. To measure the weight, you could place the beets in a sack and weigh on a bathroom scale if you wanted to. I usually just harvest all of the beets I have and keep canning until they are all processed, however many quarts that makes.

6 quarts water, plus at least 2 tablespoons for steaming the beets in the microwave

22 pounds of fresh beets (about an inch of the tops left on)

Easy Canned Beets Instructions

First, get out the pressure canner and start heating the water. Place the quart jars in the water to warm them.

easy canned beets jars in the canner

Using a small saucepan, heat the water on low and warm the canning lids. Place 6 quarts of water in a stockpot and bring to a boil.

Wash the beets and trim the stems (tops) to about one inch in length. Place as many beets as will fit into a covered casserole dish and make sure the lid can fit.

easy canned beets unpeeled

Place two tablespoons of water in the bottom of the casserole dish, cover, and cook in the microwave on high for 8-10 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the casserole dish from the microwave and check the beets to see if they are cooked. If they are, the skin will be soft and slip off easily. Microwaves vary, so if the beets are not done, return them to the microwave and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add more water, if needed.

In order to have enough beets for a seven-quart canner load, you might want to get more than one covered dish steaming in the microwave. You can alternate the dishes if you like. If you only have one covered dish, you can finish one batch with steaming, dump out the steamed beets into the sink, then fill the dish again and repeat the process as many times as needed to steam all of the beets you want to can.

easy canned beets peeled

When the beets are cooked through, slip the skins off in the sink. If the beets are large, you may want to cut them into large chunks. Remove the heated canning jars from the hot water in the canner (use the canning tongs to do this, if you have them). Place the canning jars in the sink and place the beets in each jar, leaving one inch of headspace.

easy canned beets ready to process

When seven jars are filled (or however many you have for your canning load), pour the boiling water from the stockpot into each jar, leaving one inch of headspace.

Wipe each jar rim with a damp cloth and attach the warm lids with the screw bands. Place the jars in the pressure canner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to seal the canner, then process the quart jars for 35 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure.

easy canned beets ready to process

Easy Canned Beets Recipe

Learn the easy way to can plain beets with this easy recipe. Good news! You won't have to cook the beets for hours when you follow these simple tips for canning beets the easy way.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Processing Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 7 quarts
Calories 176 kcal

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker
  • 1 set of canning tools (optional)
  • 7 quart-sized canning jars, bands and lids (preferably wide mouth)
  • 1 or 2 microwave-safe covered casserole dishes
  • Large Stockpot

Ingredients
  

  • 6 quarts water
  • 2-4 tablespoons water for steaming the beets
  • 22 pounds fresh beets

Instructions
 

  • Get out the pressure canner and start heating the water. Place the quart jars in the water to warm them.
  • Using a small saucepan, heat the water on low and warm the canning lids. Place 6 quarts of water in a stockpot and bring to a boil.
  • Wash the beets and trim the stems (tops) to about one inch in length. Place as many beets as will fit into a covered casserole dish and make sure the lid can fit.
  • Place two tablespoons of water in the bottom of the casserole dish, cover, and cook in the microwave on high for 8-10 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the casserole dish from the microwave and check the beets to see if they are cooked. If they are, the skin will be soft and slip off easily. Microwaves vary, so if the beets are not done, return them to the microwave and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add more water, if needed.
  • When the beets are cooked through, slip the skins off in the sink. If the beets are large, you may want to cut them into large chunks.
  • Remove the heated canning jars from the hot water in the canner (use the canning tongs to do this, if you have them). Place the canning jars in the sink and place the beets in each jar, leaving one inch of headspace.
  • When seven jars are filled (or however many you have for your canning load), pour the boiling water from the stockpot into each jar, leaving one inch of headspace.
  • Wipe each jar rim with a damp cloth and attach the warm lids with the screw bands. Place the jars in the pressure canner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to seal the canner, then process the quart jars for 35 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure.

Notes

The calories listed are for one whole quart of canned beets. For a one cup serving, there are 44 calories.
Keyword beets, canning, side dishes, vegetables

Best Way to Peel Beets

Do you peel beets before cooking them?  How do you peel fresh red beets? These are a common questions that led me to develop the microwave steaming and peeling method I use. Yes, you do need to peel beets before canning them. If you are cooking beets in a soup and need to shred them, you can shred them without peeling. If you are roasting beets, you do not need to peel them, but if you want to cook fresh beets to serve whole as a side dish, they need to be peeled. Just follow my easy microwave method of steaming the beets until they are fully cooked, about 8-10 minutes, and the skins should slip right off.

How Long Do You Cook Beets to Get the Skin Off?

How long do you boil beets to get the skin off? This is another common question. The little recipe book that came with my pressure canner states that the beets need to be boiled for only “15-25 minutes”. However, in my experience, whole beets take much longer (as long as 45 minutes) to cook through completely. The skin will not slip off until the beet is thoroughly cooked, and it seems to take forever. Steaming the fresh beets for 8-10 minutes in the microwave is much faster, takes less electricity, does not heat up the kitchen, and is far easier to clean up.

Canning Beets Safely

Can you water bath plain beets? Since beets are a low-acid food, they should never be canned in a water bath. When canning low-acid foods, the safest way is to use a pressure canner.

Storing Canned Beets

How long do home canned beets last? According to the USDA guidelines for shelf-stable food safety, any home-canned product should be used within 12 months for maximum nutrient value and best quality. Once the jar of canned beets is opened, it can last 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. Another tip given by the USDA is to always heat low-acid home-canned vegetables before serving. I usually heat my canned beets in the microwave in a covered dish. Are canned beets already cooked? Yes, due to the cooking before peeling, as well as the canning process, canned beets are already cooked and ready to be warmed up when the jar is opened.

What Goes Well with Canned Beets?

What can I do with canned whole beets? What are some foods that go well with them? I like to serve home-canned beets as a side dish with a variety of main dishes. Canned beets would be an excellent accompaniment to smoked pork chops with orange glaze. They would also go well with bacon-wrapped meatloaf or easy ham and potato hash. How do you eat canned beets? I usually slice them into bite-sized pieces once they are on my plate. To preserve as much color as possible, I usually leave the smaller beets whole when I can them. I only halve or quarter the larger beets to get them to fit into the canning jars more easily. Are you supposed to eat beets hot or cold? Plain canned beets in water should be heated before eating. Pickled beets are usually eaten cold, often with salad.

Are You Now Craving Easy, Home-Canned Beets?

Ready to try this easy canned beets recipe? If you try this canned beets recipe, let me know and I’ll feature a photo on Instagram. I love it when people try the recipes I share.

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Have fun stocking your pantry shelves with home-canned beets. May all of your home-canning endeavors meet with great success!

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12 thoughts on “Canned Beets Recipe: Easy and Not Pickled”

  1. Can I not use a pressure canner an use my bath canning. I don’t have a pressure canner

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, it is not safe to can low-acid foods like beets in a boiling water canner. You could try pickling them, perhaps.

      Reply
  2. I’ve never tried to can beets before! This was such a great tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • You are most welcome! I love canning beets, especially using the microwave method to get the skins off.

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    Beetroot is one of the healthiest veggies and my favourite, together with courgette. I trust your tested method, and I must give it a go this autumn. I usually pickle or freeze them, but I want to try something different. Thanks for the idea!

    Reply
    • Sure! I’m happy to have given you something new to try with canned beets.

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    I love beets and this recipe is very welcome. I’m hoping for a decent crop from my fall/winter garden do canning is definitely need n the future. Thanks Lisa!

    Reply
    • You are most welcome! Good luck with your fall and winter gardening.

      Reply
  5. 5 stars
    This was a great guide to follow when I canned beets. Thanks for sharing the tip about microwaving to peel. So much easier!

    Reply
    • Yes, I wouldn’t can beets any other way. I’m glad your beet-canning experience went well.

      Reply
  6. 5 stars
    Thanks so much for sharing this canned beets recipe! I love beets and the recipe is easy to make.
    I enjoy your recipes and the way you present them.

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I enjoy eating, so I’m always happy to share my food ideas!

      Reply

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