Who would have thought you could make jelly out of something you usually dump down the sink but this is an amazing way to use the water you boil beets in. The first time I made this jelly I cooked the beets the way I usually do, with the skins on. While I cleaned the skins carefully the end result was not as appealing as I wanted it to be. The jelly was a little on the brown side and not as tasty as I thought it should be.
So I tried again. The second time I peeled & cut the beets into large pieces before boiling them. The resulting juice was still a little on the brown side. Wondering why, I did some research. It turns out the pH level of your juice solution affects the colour of the juice that leaches from your beets. The more alkaline your solution the more yellow-brown the juice. The lower the pH, or more acidic the solution, the more red your juice will appear. The water and soil in our area has a high alkalinity level so I assume this is what affected the colour of my juice. To test this out I took one tablespoon of vinegar and added a tablespoon of my brown-yellow beet juice. Sure enough, it turned bright red. Hopeful, I carried on with the recipe as it calls for the addition of 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Sure enough, when I added the lemon juice to my beet juice it turned a beautiful bright red. The jelly turned out sweet, with the most fantastic colour I’ve ever seen. I’ve added the addition of 1 tablespoon butter to the recipe from the original at food.com. I find adding butter to jelly recipes stops the jelly from foaming and makes for a clearer jelly.
As to eating, beet jelly tastes great on a traditional PB & J sandwich but it also tastes good on a cracker with sharp cheddar cheese and a small amount of jelly on top. Needless to say that way my lunch today.
- 4-6 beets, depending on size (I used 3 very large), peeled & cut into 2-3 inch pieces
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 package dry pectin (certo)
- 6 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- As with all jellys, pre-sterilize jars, lids & utensils.
- Cook beets until tender, about 30 minutes. Because you peeled them your beets will leach some colour but that is what you want in the juice. With a little vinaigrette the beets still made a great salad for supper.
- Strain juice and save 4 cups.
- Pour 4 cups beet juice in large jam pot. Stir in lemon juice and dry pectin. Because my beets seemed so alkaline, I added 1 extra tablespoon lemon juice.
- Bring to full, rolling boil (one you can’t stir down) over high heat.
- Add sugar and return to boil, stirring constantly to dissolve completely. Bring back to full, rolling boil and boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and ladle into sterilized jars, leaving space at top and seal.
- I don’t process my jelly but if you are concerned, process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
This recipe made 8 250ml jars of beet jelly. A few for me and a couple to give away! (Yes Dad, I’ll save you one.)
Thanks for your recipe. I have my grandmothers and always remembered and loved her dark beet jelly, but she never really explained it well on her recipe ( a family secret no doubt ! ) I will be making this very soon and reliving my childhood.
When do you put the tablespoon of butter in? I am making it now.
I put a tablespoon of butter in all my jellies to stop them from foaming. You can put it in with all the other ingredients.
My grandmother made beet jelly and it was so good, the last time I had any beet jelly was when I was 14 and I am now 49, I am going to totally make this and relive my childhood memories!! how long will this last in the fridge for?
Hi Lynda. I actually put mine up in sealed jars like any other jam. Once opened it lasted in the cupboard for a couple months. I did find to make it redder you may want to pierce the beets so some of the red juice flows out. Hope you enjoy.
Just wondering if you have ever substituted white sugar for honey or coconut sugar?
Hi Millie, I haven’t. The problem with using Certo is that the sugar to acid ratio has to be right to preserve properly. I’m not sure what changing to another sweetener would do.
My mom always made beet jelly taste like grapes jelly by adding in 1 pkg (85gm – 3 oz) grape jello. So good.
I make beet jelly every year. I don’t use the boiling water from the beets but I do put a couple of cups aside. I use the cooked beets and put them in a jelly bag and take the juices right from the beets. It gives the jelly an earthy flavour and the jelly is a nice deep red/purple colour.
Thanks Cheryl, I may have to try that!