Last weekend Holly and I canned some beets. ”What the heck does this have to do with bees?!?”
Well first off I LOVE PICKLED BEETS! It has everything to do with bees, because several years ago my wife converted from sugar to HONEY for beet canning and it improved the product immensely. I try to limit refined sugar intake as a part of my diet because I think it is every bit as bad for humans as it is for bees.
For those who have never canned before, beets are by far the most labor intensive, tedious, and messy canning procedure that we take part in. They are also one of our favorite little treats throughout the winter. The beets need to be softened by boiling them for 20-40 minutes. There is no exact timing, this is real cooking, things are done “when done”. Each beat is tested with a fork to ensure that they have reached a proper softness. They should feel similar to a potato when done cooking, perhaps a little bit more firm.
At the same time that this is boiling a mixture is made using water, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar, and in our case HONEY. As per this recipe Holly substitutes about 1 cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar. This is brought to a boil then simmered for a time. The beets are then skinned and chopped into cubes and added to this simmering mixture.
The beets in the liquid are then brought back to a boil. They are then placed into the jars and the liquid mixture is ladled over them so the jars are filled to within ½ inch of the rim. At this time the lids and bands are put on. Processing time is 30 minutes for pints in a water-bath canner. For what you get it is a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it! When doing all this ladling watch it. Beet juice will stain things if you don’t clean it up right away.
The recipe we used this time is based on the one in Ball – Complete Book of Home Preserving. This is the only canning recipe we used to add sugar to and I am glad Holly converted it to honey for me. The results are excellent. Try it… you like it.
What are you using your honey in?
Leave me a comment so I can try something new…
Also if anything is unclear drop me a line….