This is adapted from the recipe on the website "Mennonite Girls Sure Can Cook."
Pour enough water over the washed beets to cover them. Cook them until they are fork tender, drain and reserve the water. Let the beets cool and peel them. Cut up larger peeled beets in pieces to fit your jars and fill each jar. Leave small beets whole.
Add a few slices of onions. I used the sweet Walla Walla onions, but any onions will do. Place a bay leaf on top of the beets in a Mason jar. Cover with hot brine and seal.
2 cups beet water, strained (this is the water saved from cooking the beets)
1 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, you don't want anything too strong.)
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. powdered cloves
Cook this together until it boils and the sugar is dissolved, stirring often.
If you are doing a large amount of beets you may have to cook more of this brine. Start with this amount and if you need more, cook it as you go along.
Put jars in a canner with enough hot water to cover the jars, and cover with a lid. Place the canner on the stove, turn the element on high and when it comes to boil turn down the heat.. the water should still be bubbling and process for 20 min.