Canning Beets

Another food preservation workshop at the Garratt Wellness Center organized by the Richmond Food Security. This workshop is led by Chef Ian Lai.


For this workshop, we had baby beets from the Richmond Sharing Farm for canning. Ian Lai did warn us that eating beets will caused the urine to be reddish in color, so don’t be alarm.


  • beets
  • sugar
  • pickling spice
  • fennel seeds
  • pickling vinegar
  • water


Source: Ian Lai


Prepare canner:

Any large pot can be a canner. Just ensure that the pot is tall enough to hold water at least 2.5cm/1 inch deeper than your tallest jar. Place a cooling rack on the bottom of the pot, to raise the jars off the surface (helps to avoid excessive agitation). You can make a canning rack by tying a few old jar rings together with twist ties or twine. Otherwise, line the bottom of the canner with towels.

Prepare jars:

Wash with hot, soapy water, rinsing well. Inspect jars, and discard any with nicks. chips, or scratches, as these flaws can cause breakage. Set the jars into your canner, fill with water, and bring to simmering. Do not boil. Keep warm until ready to fill.

Prepare lids:

Wash with hot, soapy water, rinsing well. Heat the seals in hot, not boiling water, for 5 minutes. Rings do not need to be heated. When using, remove, remove lids from hot water using a non-metallic device, rubber gloves, or a magnetic stick. Avoid using any tools which may scratch or nick the sealing compound or the inside liner of the lid.

Canning-Beets-3Ian Lai showed us a way to handle beets without staining your hands.

First, trim the end and head (leaving 1 inch) from the beets. Wash the beets of soil.

Canning-Beets-2Boil the beets in water until they are tender.
Canning-Beets-4Drain the beets and place them in the basin filled with cold water or a big bowl of cold water. Use your thumb to remove the head.
Canning-Beets-5Simply rub the skin off the beets in the cold water as the skin will comes off easily.
Canning-Beets-7Fill the sterilized jar with the beets.
Canning-Beets-11Add a teaspoon of pickling spice and some fennel seeds for flavoring.
Canning-Beets-8Add a quarter cup of sugar.
Canning-Beets-9Fill half of the jar with pickling vinegar and the remaining half with water, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles with a none metallic spatula and adjust headspace, if neccessary. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to finger-tip tight.
Canning-Beets-10Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to boil and process for the time required for depending on the size of the jar. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

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