2tbspsugar (or honey)all the way up to 2 cups, depending on the sweetness desired
For the beets
3 ½lbsdark red beets (or any preferred variety)
1-2largeyellow or white onions (depending on preference, the amount of onion can be optional)
Start by washing beets. If using homegrown, make sure to leave the root on and cut the leaves to within an inch of the beet.
Place in a large kettle and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let cook until tender. They’re ready when a knife is easily inserted with just slight resistance. Since beets vary in size, they may take varying times to cook. Remove them individually as needed.
When cooked, drain (remove from water), let cool, and remove skins using a knife and gloves to prevent staining.
Combine all the brine ingredients and let simmer on the stove.
Also start a large kettle filled with water on high heat, fitted with a rack in the bottom. This will be used for a water bath.
Using sterilized jars, slice onion to taste and place in each jar. Then fill with sliced beets. These can be sliced directly into the jars. If this is difficult, slice on a cutting board and pack jars.
Top sliced beets with additional onion, leaving about a half-inch of headspace in the jar.
Bring brine to a hard boil and fill each jar with the brine, leaving a half-inch of headspace.
Clean the top of the jars with hot water to remove any debris and drips.
Following the manufacturer’s directions, place lids and rings on jars, being careful not to over tighten (this can cause lids to buckle).
Place prepared jars in boiling water bath, making sure water covers jars by at least one inch. Bring back to a boil and process for 30 minutes.
Remove jars from kettle using a jar lifter and let cool completely before touching. Soon the lids should seal with a ping – music to a canner’s ears!
Food safety tip: This recipe may not be approved by the USDA. To prevent the risk of botulism, always check with the USDA Canning Guide (see pages 6-15 to 6-16).
If one of the jars does not seal, don’t worry. Just place it in the refrigerator and eat it.
These are delicious after only a week of sitting in the brine. However, the sealed jars will last at least a year in a cool, dark environment.