Canning and Freezing Root Crops

by National Gardening Association Editors

Carrots and beets are the only root crops that can be canned successfully. Because of their low acid content, both vegetables must be canned in a pressure canner. The exception to the pressure canning rule is if you choose to pickle your beets, in which case the added vinegar increases the beets' acidity to such an extent that you may safely use a boiling-water bath.

For complete instructions for pressure canning, carefully read and follow the instruction booklets that accompany your canner and jars. Putting Food By, by Hertzberg, Vaughan and Greene (The Stephen Greene Press, 1984), and the Ball Blue Book are two excellent references.

Carrot Hot Pack

Scrub and rinse the carrots. Slice, dice or leave them whole. Boil the carrots in water for three minutes. Pack them immediately in hot, clean jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each jar if desired. Cover the carrots with boiling water, retaining the headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust the lids and process at 10 lbs of pressure: pints for 25 minutes; quarts for 30 minutes.

Carrot Raw Pack

Scrub and rinse the carrots. Slice, dice or leave them whole. Pack them firmly in hot, clean jars, leaving one inch of headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each jar if desired. Cover the carrots with boiling water, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust the lids and process at 10 lbs of pressure: pints for 25 minutes; quarts for 30 minutes.

Beets (Hot Pack Only)

Plain. Wash the beets well. Leave two inches of stem on each beet and the entire root. Boil the beets until they're tender. Remove the skins and trim the roots. Leave the beets whole, slice or dice them. Pack the beets into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each jar if desired. Cover the beets with boiling water, retaining the headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust the lids and process at 10 lbs of pressure: pints for 30 minutes; quarts for 35 minutes.

Pickled Beets

Make a syrup using equal parts of vinegar and sugar. You may add up to 25 percent more sugar if you want your beets to be less tart. Allow for 1/2 to 3/4 cup of syrup for each pint. Bring the syrup to a boil and pour it over the beets, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt if desired. Remove air bubbles, adjust the lids and process pints and quarts in a boiling-water bath for 30 minutes.

Freezing Root Crops

Root crops are best used fresh from your root cellar, but all of them may be frozen. Select firm, young vegetables. Remove the tops, and wash, peel and slice or dice them. Scald the vegetables for three minutes. Cool them quickly in cold water, drain and pack the scalded roots in freezer containers. Seal, label and freeze.



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