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7 lbs of 2 to 2 1/2-inch diameter beets
4 cups vinegar (5%)
1 1/2 tsp. canning or pickling salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
4 to 6 onions (if desired)
Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size.
Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes).
Caution: Drain and discard liquid. Cool beets.
Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins. Slice into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and thinly slice onions. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and fresh water. Put spices in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture.
Bring to a boil. Add beets and onions. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove spice bag.
Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process pints and quarts for 30 minutes (Sea level-1000 feet), 40 minutes (1000-6000 feet) or 45 minutes (6000+ feet).
Variation. Pickled whole baby beets. Follow above directions but use beets that are 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice. Onions may be omitted.
Source: USDA. 1994. Complete Guide to Home Canning.
Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539. USDA Extension Service.
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