Beet roots – you either love them or you hate them. The fact that you are here is evidence that you fall into the beet lover category. Knowing how to store beets correctly can provide you with months of delicious beet recipes, whether they are frozen, canned, or cold-stored.
Beets are biennial root vegetables that are high in antioxidants and can be used in a variety of recipes. Unfortunately, taproots such as beets, radishes, turnips, and other veggies that are not stored properly can have a limited shelf life.
Having beets go bad can be disheartening, especially if you grow beets in your garden. Luckily there are many techniques that you can use to store beets for your favorite recipes.
How to Store Beets
We’ve got several methods for beet storage, whether you plan on short term or long term storage. We’ll show you step by step how to store fresh beets in cold storage, as well as freezing, pickling, and canning beets. Not only that, but we have a couple of recipes for turning those stored beets into a tasty treat.
1. How to Choose Beets for Storage
Before you even think about how to store beets, you’ll need to know how to choose the right beets for cooking and storage. The beets must be fresh for optimal and long-lasting storage.
Choosing the Right Beet
Garden beets are relatively easy to pick when fresh. The important thing is to pick them before the nighttime temperature drops below 24°F (-4 °C). Fresh beets have healthy leaves attached to them.
If you come across any with wilted beet greens, you should probably move on to the next one. Make sure that you store the beetroots in a cool place immediately after picking. If you are searching for fresh beets at your local market or grocery store, pick unblemished beets.
They should be dark maroon in appearance, with the tail at the bottom still intact. The outside of the beets should be firm to the touch. Beets that have softened are more than likely spoiled or beginning to spoil and should not be used for storage.
2. How to Prepare Beets for Storage
While it may seem tempting, you cannot merely store beets as they are, fresh out of the garden or from the grocery store. There are a few things that you need to do to prepare those beets for storage.
Leaves draw moisture out of the beet, so it is essential to remove the leaves as soon as possible. Trim the stem and leaves from the top of the beet, leaving about one inch of stem on the root. The greens of beets are related to chard and are edible. They can be prepared the same way you do any other green, such as kale.
Clean and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days. Beets are a type of root, so it should go without saying that they are covered in a little dirt. However, do not wash the roots in water, as this can cause them to spoil faster.
Instead, clean the beetroots by gently rubbing them with your hands and fingertips to loosen and remove dirt. Improperly storing unwashed roots may shorten their shelf life.
3. How to Store Beets Short Term
Beets are an extremely hardy vegetable with a long shelf life. You can easily store beets in the refrigerator, and they will last for up to three weeks if stored correctly. Refrigeration is the proper way of storing beets so that they remain firm during short term food storage.
Short Term Beet Storage
Begin by preparing the raw beets for storage by removing the stem and greens and wiping them clean of dirt. Place the raw beets into a plastic container or plastic bag and seal them closed. Label the date on the bag for personal reference.
Place the bagged beets into the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Crisper drawers control the airflow and humidity around fruits and vegetables placed in the drawer.
4. Best Way to Store Fresh Beets
The best way to store fresh beets is to keep them whole and store them in a root cellar. Beets stored with this method can last up to three months under the right conditions.
Root Cellar Storage
Make sure that the root cellar is between 32 and 40°F with 95% humidity. Before storage, prepare the roots by removing the stem and leaves. Place the beets into a large container with a lid such as a garbage can or cover them with damp peat moss, mulch, or sawdust to retain moisture. Keep the mulch, moss, or dust damp to ensure proper storage of the beets.
5. Storing Beets by Freezing
Harvesting and storing beets and other garden vegetables and roots can bring great satisfaction to any gardener. Knowing the many ways to store these goodies can go a long way in preserving all of your hard work. We will show you how to freeze beets so that you can enjoy them for up to one year.
Start by removing the stem and leaves of the beetroots, making sure to leave about two inches of the stem at the top. Wash the beets to remove any dirt. Boil the beets in a big pot for approximately 20 minutes for small beets and 45 minutes for large beets.
Once the beets have cooked, drain the water and place them into the refrigerator to cool. When they can be handled easily, remove the skins and slice the beets however you desire. Place the beet slices into freezer bags, seal, and label them with the month and year of storage and put the bagged beets into the freezer.
6. Storing Beets by Canning
There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to determine where to store cooked beets. While freshly cooked beets can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days, store canned beets on the shelf for several years.
Fill the canner with hot water and place on the stove over low heat. Fill the large pot with water and place it on the stove on high heat. Trim the beet tops off, leaving one inch of the stem intact, and wash them to remove any dirt.
Place the beets into the boiling water for about half an hour until tender. Remove the beets and place them in an ice bath to cool. Rinse the pot and refill it with hot water.
Place it back onto the stove and bring it to a boil. Trim off the remaining roots and stems and peel the skins. If the beets are small, you can leave them whole. Otherwise, slice the beets into half-inch slices or cubes.
Fill the jars with the beets and one teaspoon of salt, leaving an inch of headspace in each jar. Ladle the boiling water into each jar until the beets are covered with water, making sure to leave an inch of headspace. Place the lids and rings onto each jar.
Carefully place the jars onto the rack in the canner using the jar grabber. Put the canner lid on and twist it into place. Turn the heat on high, allowing the steam to escape from the vent for about ten minutes.
Close any openings in the canner and place the weight on until the pressure builds to 11 pounds. Maintain 11 pounds of pressure for 30 minutes for pint jars and 35 minutes for quart jars.
Turn off the heat, allowing the pressure cooker to cool and the pressure to reach zero before opening. Use the jar grabber to remove the jars and set them aside to cool without bumping or jostling them. Once the jars are thoroughly cooled, check that they have been appropriately sealed.
Push down on the center of the lid. If it pops up and down, it is not sealed and will need to be refrigerated for immediate use. For other instructions, check out this article on pressure canning pickled beets.
7. Favorite Canned Beets
The pickling process is not just for pickles anymore. There are several different ways to preserve beets, and it’s all about personal taste. The following is one of our favorite canned beet recipes.
Prepare the beets by trimming excess leaves and stem, leaving two inches of stem on the top. Place the beets into a large pot of boiling water and cook until tender. Drain the beets and allow them to cool in an ice bath. Once cooled, slice the beets into jar size pieces.
Pour the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar into a large pot, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Fill the jars with the beets, onion, rosemary, and bay leaves, leaving an inch at the top.
Pour the beet brine into the jar to cover the beets, leaving a quarter-inch of headspace. Place the lids and rings on the jars and follow the instructions on your pressure cooker to finish the process.
8. Roasting Frozen Beets
Once you have stored your beets, you may be wondering just what you can do with those frozen beets in your freezer. The following recipe will turn those frozen beets into scrumptious roasted beets.
Place the frozen beets on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Heat at 350°F for half an hour. Mix the beets, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and walnuts in a large bowl. Add some pepper and salt to taste and enjoy.
Your beets can go from garden to kitchen for immediate enjoyment, or you can safely store them for later using one of the mentioned techniques. Whether you plan on storing those fresh beets in the freezer or root cellar or would like to try pickling beets, you can now enjoy beets year-round.
Now that you know how to store beets by refrigerating them, freezing them, and canning them, we hope you’ll share our beet storage tips with your family on Pinterest.