Savannah Valley District

Preserving Root Vegetables

By Christine Patrick, Health Extension Agent

Root vegetables are in season during this time of the year. For those of you who are considering canning and pickling them, you’re in for a pleasant surprise!

Beets – Pickled Beets


  • 7 pounds of 2- to 2½-inch diameter beets
  • 4 cups vinegar (5 percent acidity)
  • 1½ teaspoons canning or pickling salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 4 to 6 onions (2- to 2½-inch diameter) (optional)

Yield: About 8 pints


  1. Trim off beet tops, leaving an inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color.
  2. Wash thoroughly.
  3. Sort for size. Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes). CAUTION: Drain and discard liquid.
  4. Cool beets.
  5. Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins.
  6. Slice into ¼-inch slices.
  7. Peel and thinly slice onions.
  8. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and freshwater.
  9. Put spices in a cheesecloth bag and add to the vinegar mixture.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Add beets and onions.
  12. Simmer 5 minutes.
  13. Remove spice bag.
  14. Fill jars with beets and onions, leaving ½-inch headspace.
  15. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing ½-inch headspace.
  16. Wipe jar rims.
  17. Adjust lids and process according to recommendations in Table 3.

Variation: Pickled whole baby beets. Follow the above directions but use beets that are 1 to 1½ inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice. Onions may be omitted.

Carrots – Canning Carrots


Select small carrots, preferably 1 to 1 ¼ inch in diameter. Large carrots are often fibrous. An average of 17½ pounds (without tops) is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel (without tops) weighs 50 pounds and yields 17 to 25 quarts, an average of 2½ pounds per quart.


Wash, peel, and rewash carrots; slice or dice.

Hot Pack

  1. Cover with boiling water; bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Pack hot into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  3. Add ½ teaspoon salt to pints; 1 teaspoon to quarts, if desired.
  4. Fill the jar to 1-inch from the top with boiling water.
  5. Remove air bubbles.
  6. Wipe jar rims.
  7. Adjust lids and process.

Raw Pack

Fill jars tightly with raw carrots, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  1. Add ½ teaspoon salt to pints and 1 teaspoon of salt to quarts jars, if desired.
  2. Fill the jar to 1-inch from the top with boiling water.
  3. Remove air bubbles.
  4. Wipe jar rims.
  5. Adjust lids and process following the recommendations in Table 1 or Table 2 according to the method of canning used.

Clemson Home & Garden Information Center has more information about preserving root vegetables including beets, carrots, onions, and potatoes in the Preserving Root Vegetable’s fact sheet.

The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

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