Canning 101: The Fresh Girl's Swedish pickled beets
Yesterday we spoke with Ana Micka, author of The Fresh Girl's Guide to Easy Canning and Preserving, who shared her insights on the art of canning. Today we return to share one of her favorite recipes, Rodbeter --Swedish pickled beets. This recipe uses caraway, cloves, and red onion in a traditional Scandinavian style. The result is both wonderfully sweet and sour.
Makes 5-6 pints
Method: Hot Water Bath
3 lbs. beets
2 tsp. salt
9 whole cloves
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds
2 cups red wine vinegar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
1. Sterilize your tools and prepare area: Boil water. submerge all jars, lids, and kitchen tools you will be using for 2 minutes in boiling water. Gather clean towels to cover countertops and for wiping down jars. Clean kitchen surfaces with hot water and a touch of vinegar. Make sure your hands are clean.
2. Fill your hot water bath canner two-thirds full with water and bring to a boil, so you have enough water to remain 2 inches above the lids when you submerge your jars. Note: Adding vinegar (2 Tbsp. or a good splash) helps if you have hard water. Minerals in hard water form a cloudy surface on jars. Vinegar helps keep the minerals in the water and off your jars.
3. Scrub beets. Remove tops if they're still attached, leaving an inch of stem. Place beets in a stockpot, cover with water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cook for 20-30 minutes.
4. Tie cloves and caraway seeds in cheesecloth and place in stockpot. Add vinegars, water, sugar, and onion. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain syrup to remove solids.
5. Pack beets into hot, sterilized jars and cover with syrup, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Wipe rims and secure lids. Use a non-reactive kitchen utensil, such as narrow rubber spatula or a bamboo skewer, to remove air bubbles. Note: air bubbles can cause uneven heating during processing and may impair the jar's ability to seal. Use a clean towel or paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars--this removes any spilled liquid or food, which can also prevent the jar from sealing. Place a dome lid on top of the jar and secure with a jar ring, screwing on so it's secure but not tight.
6. Submerge jars into canner with boiling water with water 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Always place jars on a rack. If you don't have the rack made specifically for your canner, use a steamer basket or some other method to elevate the jars off the bottom of the canner. Jars that come into contact with direct heat through the bottom of the canning pot can crack and break.
7.Once you add the jars, place a lid on the canning pot. When the water returns to a boil, begin timing. Process pints for 30 minutes in a hot water bath, adjusting for altitude if necessary (see a canning guide for altitude adjustments).
Recipe and basic sterilization and preparation directions adapted from Fresh Girl's Guide to Canning and Preserving. Copyright 2010 @Ana Micka.