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“What did the carrot say to the wheat? Lettuce rest. I’m feeling beet.” – Shel Silverstein
“I’m a beet freak. I put them in the pressure cooker.”- Julia Child
Top Ways to Store Beets
You may have experienced it before. You were blessed with an excellent harvest, a veritable bumper crop, and now you have too many beets on your hand. You’ve given beets out as gifts to friends and family. You can only eat so much. What do you do now?
You have no choice but to store the rest of them. But how?
Fortunately, the beet is a hardy vegetable and there are several options when it comes to short-term and long-term storage. You can store them in the refrigerator, freeze them, keep them in a root cellar, or preserve them through canning.
Note: Experts say that pressurized canning is the only safe canning process. (See link below for safe canning instructions.)
Just the Beet Facts!
- Beta vulgaris is referred to by the British as “beetroot”, while in the US and Canada, they are simply called “beets.” Beets may be eaten raw, cooked, poached, boiled, grilled, or steamed. They are frequently used in salads. Beets are used in many cuisines worldwide.
- Beets are full of nutrients and antioxidants and have many additional health benefits.
- Warning: Do not store bruised beets! They easily spoil. Periodically check on them and remove any damaged ones. Beets stored with the roots close together can also cause spoilage.
- Keep beets away from raw meat and meat juice to prevent contamination.
- Beets require a cold, moist, environment. Store them as close to freezing as possible.
- Many experts recommend that you don’t wash beets before storing them. If you choose to wash them, make sure they are dry before freezing them.
The easiest way to store beets short-term is to refrigerate them:
- Refrigeration: Your kitchen refrigerator is perfect. Refrigerated beets can generally stay fresh for approximately 2-3 weeks. They need to be dry and stored in an airtight bag. Some experts suggest perforating the bag to prevent moisture from building up.
It is best to store them in a vegetable crisper drawer but if you lack space any shelf will do. Remove the greens to prevent leaking and spoilage but leave approximately 2 inches of the stem attached to the root. (Greens are both edible and healthy and they should be stored as well.)
There are several effective options to store beets for longer periods of time. When considering storage options consider the number of beets and your available storage. Do you intend to eat them soon, or are you looking for a longer-term solution?
- Freezing: Frozen beets can stay fresh for approximately 8-10 months. Make sure to cook them before freezing to preserve their freshness.
Step#1: Boil the beets until they are relatively tender. Small beets require approximately 30 minutes. Larger ones need 40 minutes to 1 hour. Large beets are sometimes tougher so you may prefer using smaller or midsized ones.
Step#2: Place boiled beets in cold water. Peel and cut beets into slices or cubes.
Step#3: Store them in freezer bags.
Step#4: Label the bags by date before freezing.
Step#5: Thaw beets as needed when you are ready to use them.
- Root Cellar: With its cold moist environment a root cellar is an excellent way to preserve large quantities of raw beets. Beets may be stored in plastic containers but allow air circulation to prevent rotting. Some people store them in peat, sand, or wood crates.
Well-ventilated basements may provide a similar environment to a root cellar. The US Department of Agriculture reports that red beets can also be stored in pits or trenches in suitable winter climates.
- Canning: Canning beets require a bit more work. Always follow a safe pressurized canning method. Check out the following instructions from the University of Michigan for a detailed explanation of pressurized canning. Follow all safety procedures carefully!
Beets are nutritious and versatile to cook with that you want to add this excellent food to your daily diet. With proper care and storage, you can preserve their freshness for a long time.
There you have it! You are now an expert. Beet Storage 101! Whether you need short-term or long-term storage, you now have several ways to store those delicious and healthy beets.